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Us 45, Mr. Mcconnell 31, Iraq 29, Byrd 23, Vandenberg 18, United States Senate 16, Afghanistan 14, America 14, United States 11, Washington 11, Reid 10, Johnson 10, Harry Reid 10, Mr. Grassley 10, Richard Nixon 10, Syria 10, Clinton 8, George W. Bush 8, Kennedy 7, Obama 6,
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  CSPAN    Washington This Week    News/Business.  

    July 13, 2013
    2:00 - 6:31pm EDT  

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do you believe we should increase capacity of the existing bureau within the state department or establish a new center which you propose called the u.s. office for contingency operations? would there be more redundancy in efforts between the two entities? >> the core of a successful stabilization operation on the civilian side consists of planning, second late an integrated core of government professionals and what you have in cso now is an able planning capacity and a small competent staff. but there is no larger interagency core of professionals to do this work properly the conscious decision was made to reduce that court.
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conceivably, it could be done in that office or be done with stuart's proposal for usoc . there does not seem to be an interest in the state department to do that and even when i was in charge of the scrs of us, there did not seem to be retinas on the rest of the building to use it. it was something of a foreign entity in the state department. >> thank you very much for good answers and mr. deutsch is recognized. >> thank you, madame chairwoman. mr. bowen, you say and you spoke today about facilitating greater host country but-in. i would like you to speak to what that did not happen in and then you also
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recommended insuring security before rebuilding. while that is important, i wonder the extent to which we can actually do that and whether there is concerned that it actually prolongs the conflict and that slows the reconstruction infrastructure that meets to happen. if you could speak to both of those and ambassador, as it relates to syria -- if that is the sort of thing that usoco would do and that's the view that would be taken here, how -- when is it ever relevant -- when is the security situation and who deems the security situation address well enough to be able to come into these other things? >> thank you. on the consultation point -- part of it was a shift from liberates and leave which was the pre-war plan to occupy and rebuild which became the policy
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just over 10 years ago now. it was a significant shift from spending $2 billion-$20 billion in the blink of an eye and then $60 billion over 10 years. we were planning on leaving by the end of september of 2003. thus, there was no commitment to consultation with the plan to short stay. when we shifted to a significant infrastructure based rebuilding program, the plan evolved within and among the u.s. contractors that were identified and was developed by the coalition provisional authority. it did not engage with the iraqis and up. that is their first-person testimony to me about what happened. more importantly, it was something that was not thought of before hand, the need to
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consult and a commitment and its efforts to host country interest, capacity in particular. what can they do? >> what can they sustain? the key is ensuring sufficient security, not absolute security. it is a proportion of metric. the less secure the environment, the smaller the project for the more security in barbur, the more substantial the project you can pursue. >> in iraq, you have the assessments being done about security and about engagement. in the absence of usoco, those assessments were being done by our ambassador and those assessments were being done by the generals on the ground. where are they on this proposal? do they feel that would have benefited? to any of the generals or ambassadors who served in iraq feel that they would have benefited by having best? >> yes, sir.
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ambassador crocker says this would have enabled him to operate more effectively and he supports the idea of creating usoco. operatinge u.s. is overseas -- i guess we can broaden this to syria -- the ambassador in iraq and when the u.s. operates elsewhere, it is the ambassador who heads the civilian efforts in the country. the commanding general then heads the defense operations. ambassadord what crocker said. thee would usoco fit into chain of command? is it on par with state and dot? >> the mission would be discreet and well-defined and clarity will provide certainty to both the agencies and contractors. it would be somewhat wouldfema
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where the president would declare when the operation begins. the jurisdiction is effectuated and its mission is to oversee the relief and reconstruction activity in the affected country. upon completion of that mission as identified by the president, he would declare it over. the reporting chain would be like reporting to the secretary of defense and secretary of state and national security adviser. >> when would we ever hit that point in syria? in afghanistan, at what point with that designation have been made? >> in syria, we would hit it once we decided the situation was appropriate for us to go in. that is when you have the government in damascus or merging government in damascus which we know we can work with and with conditions on the ground are sufficient to permit us to go in. to make that call, you would need to have very experienced professionals on the ground,
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certainly on the border with syria and hopefully within syria as well to offer the expert political advice that our leaders need to make that decision that is why you need to have a core professionals devoted precisely to this type of problem. this problem is widespread around the world. >> without this core of national's, we are not able to make the decision about when there is a government we can work with? and gender be much more that goes into the discussion about when to get involved or do we always wait until there is a government we can work with? >> we should be involved as soon as there is a crisis brewing and we should put our best professionals on the ground to get a sense of what is happening. there's been some skepticism about whether or not we need these professionals to make decisions. my experience states that these are very this is very helpful. we should have analysis before our leaders decided to go into this very serious way. those mentioned by the
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before proved to be false. >> thank you mr. deutsch. one of our iraq vets will testify treated. >> thank you, i think the big thing we want to know is not should be be involved in other parts of the world, but of course how do we do it better. one of the concerns i have is during this time in egypt where we have turmoil is that we will run to the exits to give aid and walk away. i think we should stay engaged with aid as they go through this time of instability. i think is also important to recognize that in iraq and again i think there were mistakes made in postwar. i think we should gone in with far more troops and had a plan
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when saddam's statue fell. and we should've gotten on tv and said if you work for the iraqi government you should come to work tomorrow because you will have a job. would'ved have alone prevented years of fighting erie it. something i want to explore is what is the difference between germany and japan post world war ii and what we saw in iraq. any kind of development of aid program can happen in a highly unstable security environment. >> that is a core lesson from iraq and afghanistan that you must have sufficient security before you have reconstruction activity development and aid. that cost us billions of dollars and too many lives. we issued a report last summer that 719 lives were lost while those individuals were engaged in reconstruction related activity.
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better planning, better capacity, better integration amongst the agencies would avert the kind of abuse we've seen in iraq and better execution. would implement effective oversight so the lost and blood in we've seen in iraq and afghanistan would be averted in afghanistan and whatever reconstruction we engage in. >> think user. -- thank you sir. people accepted the legitimacy of our presence in germany and japan, but in iraq that was always a question. we believe when the saddam
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statue fell daily have the legitimacy at that that point and was it a matter of we do not enforce laws? we briskly -- was that the problem? >> given the complexity with our relationship with the arab world even as saddam's statue came down, i believe we had a chance that we could have established legitimacy. if we get smart, we would establish law and order which we had the capacity to do. as you said, we would welcome those who were in the government to continue working. there are many fundamental mistakes that we made. mistakes because we were not sufficiently sensitive to the culture or the location. even had we done everything right, you rock was -- the rack was much more difficult than
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germany or japan. president roosevelt made the critical decision not to remove the emperor of japan and the emperor of japan said to the japanese people cooperate with the americans. we have no such motion ship in iraq. >> you're suggesting the should've left saddam hussein as president? >> no, we took out tojo in japan. >> i understand what you're saying. >> i thank you for that question and as we look forward to a very important questions and we are very naïve if we think we will not have to be in the situation in the next 50- hundred years. the good forward to where we are at -- looking forward to where we are at in a rack in afghanistan. the year to pull out of afghanistan was pulled out of a hat when the president wanted to put a date for withdrawal. i will not necessarily argue or disagree, but one of my concerns is what you look at afghanistan today, 60% of the people are under the age of 20 or some amazingly young demographic. the afghan civil society, it'll
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are waking up in the military controls the entire country that is standing against certain taliban. this is a war that has to continue but we are on a -- on the eve for the victory of the people of afghanistan. when we look back on the united states when our grandkids or reading history books, it will look at this finite amount of time when there was instability in the middle east and everywhere and what did america do with its position of power and it will lead to a world of chaos, a world worth russian or chinese leadership or where america continues to be the shining city on the hill. thank you for your testimony. >> mr. connolly of virginia is recognized. >> i appreciate his fingering
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some of the early mistakes that were catastrophic. i would argue part of the problem was our own command structure because we infused too much power for unilateral power -- decisions. to try to keep the country together posted vision. i enjoyed talking to you about that and i commend the book by thomas ricks which documents this in agonizing in painful detail. mr. bowen, you and i traveled to iraq together. we will be concise, two things that came up during that was a -- was that the idea that the military was going to become an aid distribution entity. some one thing to have things to bolster the role of rebuilding communities not being seen as occupiers and invaders, but this program was -- had very little scrutiny and part of your report
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would you talk about that. the second thing is i remember when we were traveling around baghdad, the story about power plants or water purification plant that we built. the problem was we gave no thought to the capacity of piping and baghdad so we have this brand-new thing that we could point you and we cut a ribbon and we turn on the switch. tens of thousands of baghdad water pipes burst. because they were not retrofitted to handle this new capacity. that was what i was saying with 50% of absolute raised. -- 15% of absolute waste. maybe because of haste or we do not have the right people on the project or have the coordination you're talking about. we talk about that aspect to it not just waste.
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>> clearly, as our office demonstrated in extended far beyond the concept as quick hit urgent humanitarian need projects. that is a good idea and that is a weapon in the arsenal of the local commander to address hearts and mind issues and the local village level. what happened instead was we had a project like the baghdad enterprises own itch ballooned up to 38 million including the painting of a mural for $1 million. that entire project certainly -- that is great work if you can get it. i would deem it waste. more important, it did not advance our national security interest locally and instead handed them and ultimately the congress responded by capping those projects at $1 million unless the secretary of defense approved the men that never happened. batch be done at the pentagon.
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-- that should be done at the pentagon and carefully defined how it should be implementing and ensure training was done. on the water system, it was the largest product we did -- project we did in iraq. oure documented in valuation of it, it was only operating at 20% after turnover. it is an example of what happens when you do not carefully consult and effectively oversee and ensure proper execution at the local level. it was a project beyond their
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means on the and as you pointed out, there is so much waste at the sustainment point. that is impossible to document. by contrast, the parallel water treatment project, the fourth- largest project we did in iraq, was a success. it is providing fresh water to the people of the capital city of christian and because -- curtis didn't because sustainment is a huge issue in any future operation. >> thank you, dr. ho. >> we were talking about broad waste and abuse and we need to have transparency and oversight at all that and i hear that, we never find a person that is held accountable at the top.
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>> with the money that we look at spending in iraq, and close to $100 billion in afghanistan without the oversight, it just seems -- that is one of the reasons i'm here is that american people are tired of that. the reason it worked in japan and germany is we need the stink out of them and they surrendered. nobody surrendered here. so of course if we go to a non- stable government and try to rebuild, it is almost insanity or ludicrous that we do that without that clear and defined goal. now we looking at syria to do it again.
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i want to ask specifically, what do you see as the role of the american government in the middle east? is there a different way that we can approach the middle east to bring stability to that area instead of going in there and bombing and people die and then we have to look at rebuilding? the other question is if you could take us through a scenario of how money is given to this agency and how it is tracked so that we do not get into this again? unfortunately, i think we will be involved somewhere in the future and i would rather not see that. i would hate to see our young women and men overseas. they need to stay here and build america strong. i look forward to hearing you. >> you ask a big question. you ask and can provide stability in the middle east. i think it is safe to say that is beyond our means to provide stability in each and every country in the middle east. we will bankrupt ourselves if we
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try. we can offer environment and provide prudent relationships and that is part of oracle. -- part of our goal. we can also make a significant difference, but we have to be careful before we go in and to have excellent intelligence. we have to have goals that are sufficiently limited so we can achieve them and goals that assist with the political and social of the country we are engaged. that means we have to look carefully every time before we decide to intervene. for that we need to have a serious core of professionals and leaders with wisdom and humility. >> thank you. >> with regard to the reduction of fraud waste, we would reduce the cost of preparing and overseeing such operations by ensuring that there was effective planning that afforded our national authority options. more important, it would not provide more information on the ground which is what occurred
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in iraq and afghanistan and which do not work. that coordination must move to the integration so that the there is a capacity that exists before the operation begins. it is done the work ahead of time to ensure there are controls in place so that the projects and programs succeed in that fraud waste and abuse is reduced. >> ok, as i was reasoning -- .eading how you get better than the united states of america? we are spending this money there and we are going back to our taxpayers and we are bothering-y
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dollar. if they go over there, what are we doing? key.countability is the in chargeas no one specifically. when the wartime contractor held its hearings on afghanistan and said who is in charge of the rebuilding program, if not provide an answer. to firewn was there when fema failed. there is no one to fire now when a stabilization or reconstruction operation does not go well. it is not centralized. it is not coordinated. there is no one identified with accountability for the operation.
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>> thank you, madam chair. the contrast of the quality and service of our brave men and women compared to the conduct is released arc. it is very disturbing. what role does the pervasive corruption in iraq play in his reconstruction effort? as of september 2012, and anticorruption effort despite the support for the fight against corruption, apparently little change or no change at all between 2003 and 2012. i would like to hear from you of whether or not that impacts the reconstruction efforts. i would also like to hear from
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the police program. wasted millions of dollars to train iraqi police that baghdad to not need or want. how did that happen? finally, how you conclude that this new agency would somehow provide the kind of money and oversight that we have a right to expect? i think the american people sees what this crumbling infrastructure in cities -- we do not have the resources to rebuild our own country and we waste in iraq. it is properly a source of great rage from the american people. >> thank you. the corruption issue in iraq continues to limit its capacity
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to grow and for making progress out of the situation in which it is currently mired. toldheap oversight entity me when i interviewed him last year that corruption has become an institution in iraq. it takes the form of money laundering. that drains the economy of its resources and keeps the majority of the population in poverty- stricken circumstances. the police department row graham failed to succeed because of the lack of consultation with the minister of interior. when we did the audit, we met with the minister and he said to us that it was shaped and formatted in a way that do not really meet his needs. upon the issuance of the audit, it was concluded early this year because of the lack of -- this late into the program, there was a consultation problem. usoco would address the fraud, waste, and abuse issues by ensuring accountability and
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transparency throughout the process. most importantly it would promote integration. if you accept that and accept the fact that our current system is not promoting or advancing capacity, and i think reform is necessary. there is no other proposal on the table. there is no other office in place within the executive ranch that is advancing that interest. that interest is ultimately tied to our national security architect for protecting your interest in the
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region and not implementing this would leave us worse off. >> a follow-up question. an audit was done in 2012. the currency options conducted by the central bank and up to $800 million was laundered money transport illegally under false pretenses. this presents the possibility that up to $40 billion was leaving the country annually because of corruption. what percentage of that is american taxpayer money? >> that is all iraq money -- oil and gas money. it is not u.s. money. that comes from an audit, iraq's oversight entity. >> thank you. i yield back. >> another wonderful iraq vet
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is recognized. >> thank you, madam chair. this is a dialogue. this is one of the things that i think needs to happen. what is interesting coming to the table, i think there is an interesting correlation. there are different aspects of this. going into iraq as he did, it is not the best way to go about it. the question i have and i think one of the core professionals that you mentioned -- you keep mentioning usoco. 75% dod and the state department involvement usually higher, especially -- is that something that you see?
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the state department, if we are there, do we need to be higher? >> yes. the state department was given policy authority over the reconstruction program. if authority in one agency and the contract capacity in another agency. i saw it repeatedly on the ground and that led to friction and that led to failure. >> that has been clear of a lot of things going on in syria. our job is to go in and help. and we have got a concern here. you'rey things that talking about when you start
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looking at syria or egypt or anywhere else, is as being involved militarily is different than iraq and afghanistan. my concern goes back to if usoco is implemented, what is your estimated costs? >> $25 million per year. >> i have looked at the appendix in the draft bill. is it a standalone? where is the direct report? >> it reports to the secretary of defense and the national security advisor. >> that i see as an issue. >> i report to the secretary of state and the secretary of defense. it makes sense. these are unique operations. it is a creature of the modern era. >> and also directed by the
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president, correct? >> that is correct. with senate confirmation. >> the president could fire that person? >> that is right. >> one of the last things that you stated was planning in advance and plan for contingencies and have a backup plan ready to go. in world war ii, with all the history that you big, and the first couple of years we were winning the war and then came the as akin to the reconstruction. what i found troubling in iraq is that things were suddenly there and what do we do and how do we do this? we will not discuss the actual reasons -- but that is a concern for me. be looking at usoco being an agency at the front end? for military involvement needs to be there on a large scale? would you repeat the problems of iraq and go in before the fighting is over or are we
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looking at something where they would finish it and secure it and then begin rebuilding process? >> it would be the latter. you want to make sure -- the ultimate goal of usoco is to provide national command with options. a range of choices -- nature of the aid that you provide to country x, syria not limited by circumstances. in iraq we plan to liberate and leave. we plan to be gone by september. within six weeks of arriving
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come we shifted to occupy and rebuild with no structure in place to sustain such an operation. >> i appreciate your work. i think the concern looking forward is implementation of usoco what we call a different environment with iraq standing alone and then have the smaller areas of how that would fit in long-term? those are things we need to discuss. that is the hot spot right now that we had to deal with. it also concerns me deeply that we are discussing those numbers and taxpayer dollars. these are dollars that men and women do not understand when we send it overseas and we do not have a defined role. that has contributed to the distrust that americans feel. we have to restore that trust. i yield back. >> very good. excellent point. we have been joined by the ranking member of the full committee, mr. ingle, thrilled to have you.
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doing all right? >> thank you. >> thank you to your son for his service. >> thank you and also to your family. my son also served in usaid. this does not make me an expert in the military or in the state department. i want to say that. i try to have many discussions with my son about this. he runs a wine bar incidentally. you can see he has changed his direction. here is what i want to say --
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when i read this memo from our chair lady, thank you for the memo, one thing that jumps out to me is that sigir says that dod manages an amount of the reconstruction fund. that should be a red alert that duty should not be managing reconstruction. i am very proud of the military. you mentioned how they are professional and trained. but i question whether or not their training is in redevelopment. my son trade to be an artillery officer, which he was. it is a different job and training to do redevelopment. i think that is one of the mistakes he made. having the defense department
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manage reconstruction. number two, you talked about usaid and maybe what i would respectively suggest is that maybe of that bureaucracy, usoco, i think one of the failings of government is that every time an agency doesn't seem to be doing well, instead of looking to see what the real problem is, we decide to create a new problem. maybe i want to respectfully suggest is that maybe usaid is not funded?
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maybe it does not have the authority it needs. maybe if they were in charge every the construction rather than the military, maybe we would have a different outcome. i'm not sure that either usaid fully funded or professionalized integrating that we would like it to be, that our reconstruction efforts were worthwhile either in iraq or afghanistan. we could save that for another day. >> thank you. you raise a valid question. we use the bureaucracies that we have. conceivably you can re-create usaid. an agency based almost entirely on contractors, you would have to hire many more professionals. you would have institute a cultural change. the assistance community in the united states and around the
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world believes very much in assistance for assistance sake as opposed to assistance and direct support of american national interest. there are wonderful professionals at usaid. that is not the type of culture that would do the operation correctly. given how usaid functions today, wonderful job. you are probably need faster and more efficient by creating a usoco then tried to re-create it with usaid. >> did you want to comment? >> i concur. usaid today functions chiefly as a contracting out of its work. about 80%. to observe it within one agency has been attempted at state.
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ultimately, policing it within any one agency whether the state or dod would infuse the operation with that particular bureaucracy biases. by pulling it out, even on a new culture that ensures your key point that it would be that reconstruction mission. i totally concur with that. it would be to ensure civilian lead for our operations. having this bidding war almost -- >> thank you. >> thank you, madam chair. general petraeus was correctly critical and i am curious was it assumed that those folks would not have wanted to participate in a new iraqi government are was there
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that?ce that led to >> i think it was influence by the iraq leadership and the leadership those pushing removal of former sunnis. that led to the essentially as has been described to a firing of the government. the capacity was difficult to fill and took years of training and government assistance. >> appreciate that. for the rule of law efforts that were undertaken and i when i was there, we
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sent detainees there and what not. was there any measurable success in the time and resources that we have put into in the rule of law while we were there? i know you said it deteriorated recently. i know what was going on in '07 and '08. was that a failure? >> i think he was also the chair of the council in iraq. satisfieded he was
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with the support on a number of rule of law projects, especially for that major crimes task force. 44 judges were killed in iraq over the last 10 years. was much intimidation of the judiciary are by terrorist -- of the judiciary evidence by terrorist. over time, that security improved. >> in terms of the corruption, there were some serious examples of waste of taxpayer money. is it the case that sometimes the corruption is embedded, that is are there no limits to the operations it can achieve in rooting out corruption question if that is the case, do you think that is part of what we found when we got there? >> there was a culture of corruption. to some extent, it affects the region. saddam organized a formalized a corrupt system of patronage. as the iraqis have told me, the
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culture is constitutionalize it in the system now and much is being lost to money laundering. it is their duty, their system and sovereignty to address it. they are beginning to address it. too much has been lost over the last 10 years. >> in terms of the surf project, i remember that was being done when i was there. it seemed to me there were some benefits. i did not have a chance to be a report every praise that.
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do you think that was in effective use? >> our special report on that demonstrated significant reporting -- when they were manage at a limited level. that was the initial plan. there should be 25-50,000. tens of thousands of projects at that level accomplished. especially the local brands. they help the local businesses accomplish projects. when they became $10 million projects and extended beyond the likes of deployed elements, there was loss of oversight. >> you would not advise us to
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get involved in nation building type of an enterprise in that region right now? carefulnk we should be before we make any decisions at the present time. >> thank you. i appreciate the witnesses. >> thank you. now we will recognize mr. vargas of california. >> thank you. i think i have figured out the button here. thank you. >> you are supposed to learn that in your second year. [laughter] >> it took me about two or three. thank you, madam chair. the information that you provided, i think for most americans when he think every
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building, you think of the marshall plan. i certainly do. one of the things that you bring out in the report, you think of the lessons learned. you focus on small programs and projects. the marshall plan did not begin until two years after the war ended and it was because we had that fear of the spread of soviet communism. i looked at the numbers, because i recall the numbers being gigantic, and we spent $13 billion when we had a gdp $258 billion. it was a rather large amount of money. there was controversy with it,
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but at the same time people understood and the american people got behind it and said those are our allies, they are enemies, but they will be allies long term. i appreciate the timing. the second part is important, that europe was going to be friendly. this does not seem to be the case with iraq and afghanistan. it has the american people at some unease because every dollar we give to israel, we say it is fantastic and they are going to be friends, but every dollar you spent on iraq or afghanistan it does not feel right. >> two points. on the marshall plan, you're right. we spent two years planning for it. that was the element of planning to a successful rebuilding program and it is
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proven to the success of the marshall plan. also curious, the marshall plan's operational entity reported to two cabinet secretaries, so there is precedent for that. with regard to receptivity of the local populace him and there is a lesson from iraq on that, there were two rebuilding programs in effect in iraq. the one in kurdistan, the northern three provinces, were successful. that is reductive of your core report that insuring local stability, local consultation, local engagement are key to a successful program and projects. >> how about you, ambassador? >> there is no question that our intervention in germany and japan was successful even before the marshall plan. that is because as we have all
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mentioned, the japanese and germans accepted our presence as legitimate in the wake of their defeat. in iraq, that was never accepted except among the kurds, and they look to us as natural friends. the shia were repressed under saddam, but they did not see us as friends. our intervention in iraq was going to be much more difficult in the post-military phase because we were not accepted. >> that is the unease that the american people feel. there is a real unease that we have as americans that we are spending so much money there that in a few years, when we leave, they are not going to be
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our friends. worldre going to see the differently than we do, and our allies in the region are going to be their enemies. they are not going to line up on the same side. >> that is the reason why we need to be cautious as we decide to engage these countries. >> any other comment? >> usoco would insure caution because it would offer options. usoco would provide accountability and transparency that i think would assuage those just concerns the american people have about their dollars being wasted in these operations. >> thank you. >> thank you, and we thank our excellent witnesses for
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wonderful testimony, and to conclude our subcommittee, i will read into the record the seven final lessons from iraqi based on the final report from the inspector general. number one, create an integrated military office to plan and be accountable for contingency rebuilding activities during some stabilization operations, number two, to begin rebuilding after establishing sufficient security and focus on small programs and projects, three, ensure full host country engagement in project selection. four, securing commitments to share costs, possibly through loans and sustain completed projects after their transfer. five, require robust oversight of sro activities, six, preserve and refine programs developed in iraq like the provincial team reconstruction program that produced success when used judicially. and seven, plan in advance, plan comprehensively, in an
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integrated fashion, and have backup plans ready to go. excellent, gentlemen. we appreciate your testimony. we look forward to working with you in the months ahead. with that, the subcommittee is adjourned. >> thank you, madam chairman. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] this weekend on c-span, we will show you president obama at this year's national medal of arts and humanities ceremony at the white house. then tomorrow, we will talk about immigration legislation on the house.
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the senate bill passed on june 27. the representative is in charge of how the house will proceed on the issue. "newsmakers." then the confirmation hearing of to becomey, nominated the director of the fbi. .hat is at 10:30 a.m. eastern on monday, the senate will meet behind closed doors to discuss possible changes to filibuster rules. senate majority leader harry reid says he has the votes needed to change the rules. democrats say the present -- the republicans are using the filibuster to block many of president obama's nominees. it first came up in 2005. here is some of that debate. it is one hour, 40 minutes.
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>> there are a lot of things one can do to gum up the works in the senate. what typically happens is that we exercise self restraint and we do not engaged in that behavior. is --ng of suction obstructionist tactics would upset the senate. in the 214 years, we could have done it, but we did not. by filibustering can qualify judicial nominees in 16 months, our democratic colleagues have broken this on written rule. this is not the first time a minority of cenci's have upset a traditional practice. have upset aors traditional practice. they have used article one to
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reform shouldn't -- senate procedure by a simple majority vote. the senate has repeatedly adjusted its rules as circumstances dictate. the first senate adopted its rules by majority vote. rules that specifically provided a means to end debate instantly by a simple majority vote. that was the first senate at the beginning of our country. that was senate rule 8, the ability to move to the previous question and into the bay. two decades later, early in the -- and in debate. debate. the rule into end 18 06. in 1917, -- in 1806.
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its917, the senate adopted first cloture rule, a means for stopping debate after a democrat from montana forced the senate to consider invoking its authority under article one, section 52 changed senate procedure. specifically in response to concerns that germany was to begin unrestricted submarine warfare, president wilson sought to arms merchant ships so they could defend themselves. the legislation became known as the armed ship bill. that what it to avoid american involvement filibuster the bill. in 1917, there was no cloture rule at all. the senate functions entirely by unanimous consent.
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senate overcome be determined opposition of 11 isolationists' senators -- isolationist senators? how did they do it? would exercise its constitutional authority under article one, section 5 to reform its practices by majority vote. >> mr. president, the majority leader deserves more respect. >> the senate is not in order. the senate will be in order. the senator from alabama is correct. from kentucky is recognized. >> i thank the chair. itssenate would exercise constitutional authority to reform its practices by a simple majority vote.
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not take awayld the rights of a future sent by a passing rules that tied the hands of the new senate. -- a few descendants could not pass a rule that tied the hands of a new senate. said makes elementary good sense. he made clear he was prepared to end debate by majority vote. both political parties the reins to have an up or down vote on a contour rule. it was noted years later that he won without firing a shot. senator paul douglas, a democrat from illinois observed years later that consent was given in 1917 because a minority of obstructing senators left the proposal hanging over their heads.
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not pertainrule did to a president's nomination nor did any of the senators discuss its possible application to nominations. this was not because senators wanted to preserve the rights to filibuster nominees. discusssenators did not applying the rule to nominations because the notion of a filibuster in nominations was alien to them. it never occurred to anybody it would be done. in the middle of the 20th century, senators of both one,es invoke article section 5, constitutional rulemaking authority. their efforts were born out of frustration of the repeated civil rights legislation to protect black americans. a number of senators filibustered to protect black voters at the end of the 19th centuries.
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in 1922, 1935,ed 1938. 1942, 1944,es in and 1946. leader, the majority johnson agreed to reduce the number to 2/3 of senators present and voting because he was faced with the majority the majority would exercise its constitutional authority to reformed senate procedure. he knew the constitutional option was possible. the senate has voted four times for the proposition the majority has the authority to change senate procedures. 1969, senators were trying to touce the standard, the rule cut the debate from 67 down to 60. to shut off debate on this proposed rule change, senator
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church from idaho secured a ruling from the presiding officer, the democratic vice president, that a majority could shut off debate. that was in respect of of the much higher closure requirement under the standing rule. the majority of senators voted to invoke closure 51-47 in accord with the ruling of vice president humphrey. this was the first time the senate voted in favor of a simple majority procedure to and end debate. the senate reversed the ruling on appeal. as senator kennedy later noted, this subsequent vote only cemented the principle that a simple majority could determine the senate's rules. althoughennedy said vice-president on. h --umphrey's
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ruling might have been reversed, the reversal was accomplished by a majority of the senate. senator kennedy made this option -- observation in 1975 when reformers were still trying to reduce the level from 67 to 60. reformers have been thwarted in their effort to lower the standard for several years. senate democrats again asserted constitutional authority of the majority to determine senate procedure to ensure an up or down vote. the senate eventually adopted the 3/5 rule, 60 votes to cut off debate, but only after the senate voted on three separate occasions in favor of the principal at a simple majority could end debate. they had voted on three separate occasions that a simple majority could end debate.
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after that was a compromise establishing the level at 60. the chief proponent was former senator walter mondale and four current democratic senators voted in favor of it. senator kennedy was especially forceful -- and a specially forceful inherent to the majority to govern. he announced by what logic can the senate of 1917 or 1949 bind the senate of 1975? that was senator kennedy. echoed senator walsh. he said it is preposterous to assert they may deny later maturities the right to change them. consentg to unanimous
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restraints in 1970, senator kennedy made an astute observation as to why the majority has to have rulemaking authority. senator kennedy said no one would claim a rule adopted by one summit. -- senate prohibiting rules except by unanimous consent could be binding on a future summit. if not, why should one be able to bind future senates to a rule that such a change can be made only by 2/3 vote. recently, the authority to which i have been referring has been called the constitutional option or the pejorative term, nuclear option. while the authority of the majority to determine senate procedures has long been recognized, most often in senate history by our colleagues on the other side of the ira, incidentally it was the senior center -- senior senator from west virginia who employed this most recently, most effectively,
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and most frequently. senator byrd employed the constitutional option four times in the late 1970's and 1980's. the context varied, but three common elements were present each time. first, there was a change in senate procedure through a point of order rather than through a textual change to senate rules. second, the change was achieved through a simple majority vote. third, the change in procedure curtailed the option of senators including their ability to not different types of filibusters or otherwise pursue minority rights. d on four occasions as majority leader. the first time was in 1977 to filibusterost-closer
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by amendment. the when2 provides closure is invoked, each member is limited to one hour of debate and prohibits non-germane amendments. because democratic senators of ohio and south dakota opposed deregulating natural gas prices, they used existing senate procedures to delay passage of the bill that would have done so after closure had been invoked. they stalled debate by repeatedly offering amendments without debating them, thereby delaying the post-closure caught. points of order were made against the amendments. they simply appeal the ruling of the chair, which was debatable. a motion to table, there would have to be roll-call votes. neither of these options would
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consume any post-closure time. ,fter 13 days of filibustering the senate has suffered through 121 roll-call votes and 34 live sight.with no end in under existing president, the presiding officer had to wait for a senator to make a point of order before ruling an amendment out of order. by creating a precedent, senator byrd changed the procedure. he enlisted the aid of vice president mondale as presiding officer and made a point of order the presiding officer had to take the initiative to rule amendments out of order that the chair being dilatory. vice president mondale sustained his new point of order. another senator appeal. but his appeal was tabled by majority vote the use of this
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constitutional option set a new precedent. it allowed the presiding officer to rule and then it's out of order to crush a filibuster. with the new president in hand, senator byrd began calling the amendments and i spent a mondale rule them out of order. with the vice president's help, he disposed of 33 amendments making short work of the filibuster. years later, senator byrd discussed how he created new precedent to break this filibuster. this is what senator byrd said years later about what he did. there are few senators in this body who were here when i broke the filibuster on the natal gas bill. i asked mr. mondale, the vice president, to go please sit in the chair. i wanted to make some points of order and create some new precedents that would break these filibusters.
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and the filibuster was broken -- back, neck, legs, and arms. back, neck, legs, and arms. it went away in 12 hours. so i know something about filibusters. i helped to set a great many of the precedents that are in the books here." that's senator byrd on his effort -- one of his efforts involving the use of the constitutional option. although senator byrd acted within his rights, his actions were certainly controversial. his democratic colleagues, senator ravment berisk complained comma senator byrd had changed the buyer rules of the senate during the heat of the debate on a majority vote, and according to senator byrd's own history of the senate, the book that he wrote, that we all admire so greatly, in senator byrd's own history of the senate, he and vice president mondale were severely criticized
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for the stroard actions we had-- --extraordinary actions we had taken. some might argue that senator byrd was not subscribing to the constitutional option. however, the procedure he employed making a point of order, securing a ruling from the chair, and tabling the appeal by simple majority vote, is the same procedure the current senate majority may use. moreover, 15 months later, senator byrd expressly embraced the senate majority's rule-making authority. back in january of 1979, majority leader byrd proposed a senate rule to greatly reform debate procedure. his proposed rules change might have been filibustered, so he reserved the right to use the constitutional option. here's what he said: he said, "i base this resolution on article 1, section 5 of the
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constitution. there is no higher law, insofar as our government is concerned, than the constitution. the senate rules are subordinate to the constitution of the united states. the constitution in article 1, section 5 says that each house shall determine the rules of its proceedings... congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past..." "by the dead hand of the past." senator byrd did not come to his conclusion lightly. in fact, in 1975, he had argued against the constitutional option but faced with a filibuster in 1979, he said he had simply changed his mind. and this is what he had to say: "i have not always taken that position, but i take it today in light of recent bitter
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experience... so, i say to senators again that the time has come to change the rules. i want to change them in an orderly fashion. i want a time agreement." he went on to say, "but, barring that, if i have to be forced into a corner to try for majority vote, i will do it because i am going to do my duty as i see my duty, whether i win or lose. ... if we can only change an inable rule by majority vote, that is in the interests of the senate and in the inteof the nation that the majority must work its will. and it will work its will." now, senator byrd did not have to use the constitutional option in early 1979 because the senate relented -- relented under the looming threat and agreed to consider his proposed rule change through regular order. as another example, in 1980,
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senator byrd created a new precedent that is the most applicable, mr. president -- the most applicable to the current dispute here in the senate. this use of the constitutional option eliminated the possibility that one could filibuster a motion to proceed to a nomination. let me say that again. we're on a nomination now, mr. president, on the executive calendar. the reason it was not possible to filibuster a motion to proceed to that nomination, we can thank senator byrd in 1980 when he exercised the constitutional option to simply get rid of the ability to filibuster a motion to proceed to an item on the executive calendar. before march of 1980, reaching a nomination required two separate motions, a nondebatable motion to proceed to executive session, which could not be filibustered and which would put the senate on its first treaty on the calendar, and a second debatable
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motion to proceed to a particular nominee, which could be filibustered. now, senator byrd changed this precedent by conflating these two motions, one of which was debatable, into one nondebatable motion. specifically, he made a motion to go directly into executive session to consider the first nominee on the calendar. senator jesse helms made a point of order that this was improper. under senate precedent, a person could not use a nondebatable motion to specify the business he wanted to conduct on the executive calendar. the presiding officer sustained snosh helms' point of order as being correct under senate rules and precedents. in a party-line vote, senator byrd overturned the ruling on appeal and because of this change in precedent, it effectively is no longer possible to filibuster the motion to proceed to a nominee. so, mr. president, where are we? there are other examples where
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our distinguished colleague used the senate's authority to reform its procedures by a simple majority vote. we on this side of the aisle may have to employ the same procedure in order to restore the practice of affording judicial nominees an up-or-down vote. we did not cavalierly decide to use the constitutional option. like senator byrd in 1979, we arrived at this point after recent bitter experience, to quote senator byrd. and only after numerous attempts to resolve this problem through he other means had failed. here's all we've done, mr. president, in recent times to restore up-or-down votes for judges. we've offered generous unanimous consent requests. we've had weeks of debate. in fact, we spent 20 days on the current nominee. the majority leader offered the
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frist-miller rule compromise. all of these now are rejected. the specter protocols which would guarantee that nominations were not bottled up in committee. that was offered by the majority leader. that was rejected. negotiations with the new leader, senator reid, hoping to change the practice from the previous leadership in the previous congress. that was rejected. the frist fairness rule compromise. all of these, mr. president rejected. now, unfortunately, none of these efforts have at least as of this moment borne any fruit. our democratic colleagues seem intent on changing the ground rules, as "the new york times" laid it out in 2002. they want to change the ground rules as they did in the previous congress in how we treat judicial nominations.
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we are intent on going back to the way the senate operated quite comfortably for 214 years. there were occasional filibusters but cloture was filed and on every occasion where the nominee enjoyed majority support in the senate, cloture was invoked. we'll have an opportunity to do that in the morning with cloture on priscilla owen. colleagues on both sides of the aisle who want to defuse this controversy have a way do did in the morning. that is to do what we did for 214 years. if there was a controversial nominee, cloture was filed, cloture was invoked, and that controversial nominee got an up-or-down vote. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. mcconnell: i'll retain the floor, mr. president. mr. grassley: mr. president,
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would the senator yield for a question? mr. mcconnell: i would. i would be happy to yield to my friend from iowa. mr. grassley: yes, one of the things that the public at large can get confused about is that we're going to eliminate the use of the filibuster entirely. i've seen some of the -- i guess you call them 527 commercials advising constituents to get ahold of their congressman because minority rights are going to be trampled. now, i obviously find that ludicrous. i know that this debate is not about changing anything dealing with legislation. it's just maintaining the system that we've had here in the united states senate on judges for 214 years, and i wonder if the senator would clear up that we're talking just about judicial nominees and not even all judicial nominees, and nothing to change the filibuster on legislation. mr. mcconnell: i would say to my friend from iowa that if the
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majority leader does have to exercise the constitutional option and ask us to support it, it will be narrowly crafted to effect all circuit court appointments and the supreme court, which are, after all, the only areas where there has been a problem. i would further say to my friend from iowa that the only -- in the years that i've been in the senate, the only time anybody has tried to get rid of the entire filibuster was back in 1995 when such a measure was offered by the other side of the aisle. interestingly enough, the principal beneficiaries of getting rid of the filibuster in gang of 1995 would have-- --in january of 1995 would have been our party, because we had just come back four in the senate. and yet not a single republican -- not one -- voted to get rid of the filibuster. 19 democrats did, two of whom -- senator kennedy and senator kerry -- are still in the senate and now arguing, i guess, the
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exact opposite of their vote a mere ten years ago. mr. grassley: so when we just came back into the majority after the 1994 election, there was an effort by democrats to eliminate the filibuster? mr. mcconnell: entirely. mr. grassley: entirely, on legislation. mr. mcconnell: everything. mr. grassley: and we were a new majority? mr. mcconnell: right. mr. grassley: we would have benefited very much on that. it would have given us an opportunity to get almost anything done, no impediments and swreeted against that? mr. mcconnell: unanimously and interesting enough, it was the first vote cast by our now majority leader, senator frist, right after he was sworn in here in the senate, the very first vote he cast, along with all the rest of us on this side of the aisle, was to keep the filibuster. mr. grassley: so i think that ought to keep it clear that we're talking just about the unprecedented use of the filibuster within the last two years. we're not talking about changing anything in regard to
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filibuster on legislation because we understand that that's where you can work compromises. you can't really work compromises bh it comes to an individual. it is either up or down but you can change words, you can change paragraphs, you can rewrite an entire bill to get to 60, to get to finality on any piece of legislation.ñ mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i was entirely correct, all legislative items would be preserved. preserved even for district court judges where senators have historically played a special role in either selecting or blocking district judges. all of that would be preserved in we have to exercise the constitutional option tomorrow, it would be narrowly crafted to deal only with the future supreme court appointments and circuit court appointments, which are where we believe this aberrational behavior has been occurring in the past and may
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occur in the future. mr. grassley: and maintain the practice of the senate as it's been for 214 years prior to two years ago? mr. mcconnell: that is precisely the point. my friend from iowa is entirely correct. mr. grassley: i thank you very much, mr. president. i yield -- mr. hatch: just to make this clear, there are two calendars in the senate. one is the legislative calendar. the other is the executive calendar; is that correct? mr. mcconnell: that is correct. mr. hatch: legislative calendar is the calendar for the senate? is that correct? mr. mcconnell: that is correct. mr. hatch: executive calendar involves the power granted by the president of the united states and the senate has the right to advice and consent on that power, on the exercise of that power? mr. mcconnell: that is entirely correct. mr. hatch: what we're talking about is strictly the executive calendar ending the inappropriate filibusters on the executive calendar and certainly not ending them on the legislative calendar?
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mr. mcconnell: my friend from utah is entirely correct. mr. hatch: our democratic friends argue -- just to change the subject a little bit here -- they argue that we have to institute the judicial filibuster to maintain the principle of checks and balances as provided in the constitution. but unless my recollection of events is different, this contention does not fit with the historical record. isn't it the case that the same party has often been in the white house and in the majority, like today, but in the past the same party has controlled both the white house and the majority in the senate, but yet neither party, democrats or republicans, over the years has filibustered judicial nominees until this president's term? mr. mcconnell: my friend is entirely correct. the temptation may have been
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there, i would say to my friend from utah. the temptation may have been there. during the 20th century, the same party controlled the executive branch and the senate 70% of the time. 70% of the time in the 20th century the same party had the white house and a majority in the senate. so i'm sure -- and, by the way, that aggrieved minority in the senate for most of the time was our party, the republican party, during the 20th century. we're hoping for a better century in the 21st century. but it was mostly our party. so there had to have been temptation from time to time and frustration on the part of the minority. 70% of the time in the 20th century they could have employed this tactic that was used in the last congress, but did not. senator byrd led the minority during a good portion of the reagan administration, actually
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during all of the reagan administration, six years in the minority, two years in the majority, senator byrd could have done that at any point. he did not do it, to his credit -- to his credit -- he did not yield to the temptation. as i often say, there are plenty of things we could do around here, but we don't do it because it's not good to do it. even though it's arguably permissible. so when our friends on the other side of the aisle say the filibuster has been around since 1806, they are right. it's just that we didn't exercise the option, because we thought it was an irresponsible thing to do. mr. hatch: the filibuster rule didn't come into effect until 1917. mr. mcconnell: no, the ability to stop the filibuster didn't come about until 1917. the ability to filibuster came about in 1806. mr. hatch: senators had the right to speak, and they could speak. so in a sense it wasn't even known as a filibuster at that time. nevertheless, they had the right
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to speak. if you could follow up on what you've said, we heard repeatedly from liberal interest groups that we must maintain the filibuster to maintain -- quote -- "checks and balances." now, my understanding of the constitution's checks and balances is that they were designed to enable one branch of government to restrain another branch of government. are there really any constitutional checks that empower a minority within one of those branches to prevent the other branch from functioning properly? mr. mcconnell: i mean, my friend from utah is again entirely correct. the term checks and balances have absolutely nothing to do with what happened to circuit court appointments during the previous congress. the term check and balance means institutional checks against each other, the congress versus the president, the judiciary versus both. the balance of power among the branches of government, it has
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nothing whatsoever to do with this process to which the senate's been subjected in the last few years. it's simply a term that's inapplicable to the dilemma in which we find ourselves now. mr. hatch: one last thing. the 13 illustrations of the democrats on the other side have given that they've said are filibusters, if i recall correctly, 12 of those 13 are now sitting on the federal bench, as you have said. is that correct? mr. mcconnell: i would say to my friend from utah, as far as i can determine, every judge who enjoyed majority support upon which there was subsequently a filibuster, cloture was invoked, and all of those individuals now enjoy the title "judge." match hatch in other words, they're sitting on benches -- mr. hatch: in other words, they're sitting on benches today? mr. mcconnell: because they ultimately got an up-or-down
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vote. and we'll have an opportunity, i say to my friend from utah, we'll have an opportunity tomorrow in the late morning to handle the priscilla owen nomination the way our party, at your suggestion and senator lott's suggestion toward the end of clinton years, handled the berzon and paez nominations. they had controversy about them, just as this nomination has controversy about it. how did we deal with controversy? we invoked cloture. and i remember you and senator lott saying to substantial grief from some, that these judges, judge candidates had gotten out of committee and they were entitled to an up-or-down vote on the floor. and senator lott joined senator daschle and filed cloture on both those nominations not for the purpose of defeating them, but for the purpose of advancing them. they both got an up-or-down vote and they both are now called judge. mr. hatch: so the cloture votes in those instance wr-s floor management devices to get to a vote so we could vote those
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nominations to the bench. so they were hardly filibusters in that sense? mr. mcconnell: they were not. they were situations which do occur from time to time where you have a nominee that has some objection. and around here, if anybody objects, it could conceivably end up in a cloture vote. it doesn't mean that that -- mr. hatch: and spend a lot of time on the senate floor. mr. mcconnell: it doesn't mean that nomination is on the way to nowhere. it means that nomination is on the way to somewhere, because you invoke cloture, and then you get an up-or-down vote. and i remember you as the chairman of the judiciary committee advocating that step, even though we all ended up, many of us, voting against those nominees once we got the vote. mr. hatch: advocating the step that we should invoke cloture? mr. mcconnell: exactly. mr. hatch: the 12 -- the 13, 12 of them are sitting on the bench. the 13th that they mentioned was the fortas nomination. in that case there was the
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question of whether there was or was not a filibuster. let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say there was a filibuster since there are those who do say there was. although the leader of the fight, senator griffin, at the time said that they were not filibustering, that they wanted two more days of debate and that they were -- they were capable and they had the votes to win up and down. mr. mcconnell: he withdrew, didn't he? mr. hatch: he did. what happened was there was one cloture vote and it was not invoked. but even if you consider it a filibuster, the fact is that it was not a leader-led filibuster. it was a filibuster that was filibustered by -- if it was a filibuster -- almost equally by democrats and republicans. mr. mcconnell: and isn't it also true, i'd ask my friend from utah, that it was apparent that justice fortas did not enjoy majority support in the senate and would have been defeated had he not withdrawn his nomination? mr. hatch: that's right. the important thing here is that it was a bipartisan filibuster
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against a nominee by both parties. and in this -- in these particular cases, these are leader-led partisan filibusters led by the other party. i thank my colleague. is that correct? mr. sessions: would the senator yield? mr. mcconnell: i'd be happy to yield. mr. sessions: i hope that senator hatch would remain a minute, because i think it's important. he was, during much of the first years of my career in the senate, chairman of the judiciary committee. and i think it's important to drive home what you've been discussing. i think it's so important. first, i would say to the distinguished assistant majority leader how much i appreciate his comprehensive history of debate in the senate. i think it's valuable for everyone here. i remember the berzon and paez nominees. the supreme court of the united states had reversed the ninth circuit. both of these were nominees to the ninth circuit.
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judge paez, a magistrate judge, declared that he was an activist himself, as i recall, and even said that if legislation doesn't act, judges have a right to act. and the supreme court had reversed the ninth circuit 28 out of 29 times one year, consistently reversed them more than any other circuit in america. and here we had an aclu counsel in marsha berzon and paez being nominated. and there was a lot of controversy over that. we had a big fuss over that. and we had a objection. i voted for 95% of the president's -- president clinton's nominees, but i didn't vote for these two. and i remember we had a conference. now, i ask the assistant majority leader if we were having house members saying why don't you guys filibuster? people out on the streets saying don't let them put these activist judges on the bench.
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we had our colleagues saying it. i didn't know what to do. i was knew to the senate. and do you remember -- i was new to the senate. and do you remember that conference, when, senator hatch, when we had the majority in the senate and president clinton was of a different party? we weren't in the minority like the democrats are today. we had the majority. and he explained to us the history of filibusters, why we never used them against judges, and that -- and urged us not to filibuster that -- the clinton nominees? mr. mcconnell: i remember it well. i would say to our colleague from utah, he got a little grief for that, from a number of members on our side of the aisle who were desperately looking for some way to sink those nominations. and he said don't do it. don't do it. you'll live to regret it. and thanks to his good advice, we never took the senate to the level -- never descended to the
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level that the senate has been in the previous congress. mr. sessions: let me ask this, and with the presence of the distinguished former chairman of judiciary in the room: at that very moment, when it was to the republican interest to initiate a filibuster if we chose to do so, at that moment when he was on principle opposing it, the very members of the opposite party, leading senators on that side -- senator leahy and kennedy and feinstein and boxer -- were making speeches saying how bad the filibuster was and how it should not be done. mr. mcconnell: i would say to my friend that's why we've been quoting them so much in all of our speeches on this side of the aisle. i mean, you could just change the names, and they could have been given our speeches. i mean, as recently as 1998, 1999 and even 2000.
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mr. sessions: i couldn't agree more. half a dozen years ago the people who are leading the filibuster were the very ones objecting to it. but senator hatch and the republicans, isn't it fair to say, have been consistent? mr. mcconnell: absolutely. let's just be fair here. i'd say to both of my colleagues, without getting into the details of any particular nomination, that i think the democrats have arguably a complaint when they -- it has at least the patina of legitimacy, the argument that we simply did in committee what they're doing on the floor. the presiding officer: the time controlled by the majority has now expired.ñ con mr. president, i ask unanimous consent for an additional five minutes. i just asked consent for five more minutes. a senator: no objection. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. mcconnell: they argue that we simply did in committee what they're doing on the floor and there's not a dime's worth of difference between holding up a nominee in committee and holding up a nominee on the floor. i think there are some distinctions to be made. it's not entirely the same thing, but granting that might have some legitimate circumstances the majority leader offered these specter protocols with which the former chairman of the judiciary is intimately familiar, which would have guaranteed some kind of procedure to extricate those nominations from committee and bring them out on to the floor and give them an up-or-down vote. so we're in the majority. we volunteered to give up the ability to routinely kill nominations in committee , and yet they turned that down, too. mr. sessions: i would just add -- a senator: would the senator yield on that point?
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a senator: the fact of the matter is there have always been holdovers at the end of every administration. there were 54 holdovers at the end of the bush 1 administration, and he was only there four years. mr. hatch: we didn't cry and moan and groan and threat on the blow up the senate over that. we recognized it was part of the process. i have to say, with regard to the holdovers there at the end of the clinton administration, there were some i wished i could have gotten through, but there were like 18 that were withdrawn, 10 withdrew their names. some were not put up again between the two administrations. there's no question that i tried to do the very best i could to get president clinton every possible edge, but this has always been the case. it isn't just this time. it happened with democrats in control of the senate and republicans in control of the white house, and i think that point needs
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to be made. i've heard a lot of moaning and groaning here, but i know my colleagues know that i did everything in my power to accommodate them and help them. mr. mcconnell: i think that's entirely correct. the only point i was seeking to make is if that criticism had any validity whatsoever, and the former chairman has pointed out it has very little legitimate circumstances but if it did, the distinguished majority leader offered to make that essentially impossible, and yet that was rejected, as well. mr. president, let me conclude -- mr. sessions: would the senator yield for one more question? mr. mcconnell: i yield. mr. sessions: isn't it true that trent lott, the republican majority leader, sought cloture to give berzon and paez an up-or-down vote and those those of us who opposed berzon and paez, like i think the senator from kentucky did, we voted for cloture to give them an up-or-down vote, and then voted
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against them when they came up for the up-and-down vote. mr. mcconnell: the senator from alabama is entirely correct. that's the way i voted. i think it's the way he voted. that's the way the senate ought to operate. that's a good model for how we ought to behave tomorrow. we'll have a cloture vote on justice priscilla owen. if the senate wants to operate the way it used to, we'll invoke cloture on justice owen and give her the up-or-down vote which she richly deserves. mr. president, i yield floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. nawr thank you, mr. president. mr. lautenberg: the argument, the debate bounces back and forth, and we hear the complaints about the change in the system, one that's been in existence for some 200 years.
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it was formally adopted in the early part of the 20th century. i see, mr. president, the fact that the traditions and rules of the united states senate are frankly in deep jeopardy. the current majority leader is threatening to annihilate over 200 years of tradition in this senate by getting rid of our right to extended debate. the senate will be here as a result of this nuclear option, will be a dreary, bitter, i think far more partisan landscape, even though it obviously prevents us from operating with any kind of consensus. it will only serve, in my view, to make politics in washington much more difficult. one has to wonder, what happened to the claims that were made so frequently, particularly in the election in the
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year 2000, when the then-candidate bush, now president, talked about being a uniter, not a divider, and it's been constantly referenced. i want the unite the american people, not divide them. with this abuse of power, the majority is about to further divide our nation with the precision of a sledgehammer. i want the american people to understand what's going to happen here on the floor of the united states tomorrow if things go as planned. vice president cheney, who we rarely see in this chamber, is going to come here for the specific purpose of breaking existing rules for the operation of the united states senate. he's going to sit in the the presiding officer's chair and do something that, frankly, i don't remember here in my more than 20 years in the senate. he could intentionally misstate, if what we hear is what we're going
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to get, the rules of this senate. so i want to think about this irony. vice president cheney gets to help nominate federal judges, then when the senate objects to the administration's choices, he's going to come over here and break our rules to let his judges through. talk about abuse of power. the founding fathers would shudder at the thought of this scenario, and it runs counter to the entire philosophy of our constitution, the separation. our constitution created a system that they thought would make it impossible for a president to abuse his powers, but tomorrow we're going to see what happens to a coup d'etat, a takeover right here in the united states senate. the senate, just like society at large, has rules, and we make laws here and we brag about the fact that this is a country of laws. we make laws here and
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expect americans to follow them. now the majority leader wants the senate to make it easier for the republican senators to change the rules when you don't like the way the game is going. what kind of an example does that set for the country? some may ask, if we don't follow our own rules, why should the average american follow the rules that we make here? and if the majority leader wants to change the rule, there's a legal way to do it. a controversial senate rule change is supposed to go through the rules committee, and once it reaches the full senate for consideration, it needs 67 votes to go into operation, into effect. rather than follow the rules, vice president cheney will break the rules from his position as the presiding officer and change the rules by fiat. so in other words, we'll see an attempt to
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overthrow the united states senate as we know it, and hopefully some courageous senators will step forward, vote their conscience and put a stop to this once and for all. there are several people who disagree with their leader on the republican side and they've expressed their unwillingness to go through with this rugged, muscular takeover of the united states senate. it's unbefitting the body. president bush and the majority leader want to get rid of the filibuster because it's the only thing standing between them and absolute control of our government and our nation. they think the senate should be a rubber stamp for the president, and that's not what our founders intended. it's an abuse of power and it's wrong, whether republican or a democrat lives in the white house. i say to the american people, please get past the process debate here and let's not forget how important our federal
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judges are. they make decisions about what rights we have under our constitution. they make decisions about whether our education and environmental laws will be enforced. they make decisions about whether or not we continue to have health care as we know it. and sometime, let us not forget, they may even step in to decide a presidential election. the constitution says that the senate must advise and consent before a president's judicial nominations are allowed to take the bench. it doesn't say advise and relent. it doesn't say consent first and then advise. as democratic leader harry reid recently said, george bush was elected president, not king. the founding fathers, wa h -- washington, jefferson, madison did not want a king, and that's why the constitution created the senate as a check on the president's power. with terrible ideas like
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social security privatization coming from the president these days, the american people are thankful that we're here to stop it. president bush once famously said -- and i quote him -- "if this were a dictatorship, i'd be a heck of a lot easier just as long as i'm the dictate qor." -- dictator." i'm hopeful president bush was kidding when he said that, but the president's allies don't seem to be. they want the senate to simply approve every bush nominee regardless of their record. mr. president, we have confirmed 208 of president bush's judges appointed. be there are several that we objected to because we felt they were too extreme and they voiced their opinions. this wasn't based on hearsay. it was based on things they said. too extreme to sit on the federal bench. the republican side of the aisle calls that the
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tyranny of the minority, but in the senate, mr. president, who is the minority and who is the majority? when you do the path on the current senate, you'll find that the majority is actually in the minority. the minority is the majority. here's what i mean. majority or minority. current senate, republican caucus, 55 senators. theysent 144 -- 765,000 americans. 2 democratic caucus, less senators, 45 as opposed to 55. they represent 148,300,000 some americans. where is the minority here? in this chart, each senator is allotted one half of his or her state's population just to explain how we got there. what you find is that the minority in this body, the democratic caucus, represents 3.5 million more people than does the majority. that's exactly what the
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founding fathers wanted, to protect minority rights in this senate, because a minority of senators may actually represent a majority of the people. how do you discard that and say, well, we'll the majority, we're the majority, but you don't own the place. it's supposed to be a consensus government. and particularly in the united states senate. i make one last appeal to the majority leader, don't take this destructive action. i want the american people to understand one thing: the big fight here is because the people who will get these positions have lifetime tenure. that means they could be here 20, 30 or 40 years. i have faith in the courage of my colleagues across the aisle, and i hope they're going to put loyalty to their country ahead of loyalty to a political party. with that, i yield the time, mr. president.
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i want to compliment my colleague from new jersey for his eloquence and for his insight into the important role that the filibuster has always played in building consensus in our society. mr. bayh: mr. president, it is unfortunate that we are here. it is unfortunate for this institution, it is unfortunate for the members of this body, it is unfortunate for our country and for the political process that governs us all. mr. president, let there be no illusions -- there will be no winners here. all will lose. the viktors in their momentary triumph will find that victory is ephemeral. the losers will nurture their resentments until the tables one day turn,
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as they inevitably will, and the recrimination cycle will begin anew. this sorry episode, mr. president, proves how divorced from the reality of most of america washington and the elites that too often govern here have become. at times when americans cry out for action on health care, the economy, the deficit, national security, at a time when challenges form around us that threaten to shape the future, here we are obsessing about the rules of the united states senate and a small handful of judges. at times like this, mr. president, i feel more like an ambassador to a foreign nation than a representative in my own. this episode feeds the cynicism and the apathy that have plagued the american people for too long. it brings this institution and the process that have brought us here into disrepute and low esteem. no wonder so few of our
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citizens take the time to exercise even the most elementary act of citizenship, the act of going to the polls to vote. very briefly, mr. president, let me say what this is all about.ñ but let me begin by saying what it is most definitely not about. this is not about the precedence and history of this body. it has been interesting to sit silently and observe colleagues on both sides of the aisle make appeals to precedent and history, and both do so with equal passion. history will not provide an answer to the situation that confronts us. it's not about whether nominees get an up-or-down vote. in fact, it's about the threshold for confirmation that nominees should be held to: a simple majority or something more. it's not about whether the chief executive will have his way the vast majority of the time. this president has seen 96% or
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more of his nominees confirmed by this senate. a high percentage by any reckoning. this debate is not about whether there are ideological or partisan tests being aflied to nominees. i would assume that the 200-and-some nominees sent before us by this president are for the most part members of his party. i would assume most of them share his ideology and yet more than 200 have been confirmed. there are no litmus tests here. mr. president, this in real part is about the value that we as a people place upon consensus in a diverse society. it is about the reason that the separation of powers and the balance of powers were created by the founders of this republic in the first place. and it is ultimately about whether we recall our own history and in the understanding of human nature itself. the occasional passions and excesses and zeals of the moment
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that lead us to places that threaten consensus and the very social fabric of this republic. it is about, mr. president, the value that we place upon restraint in such moments. is it unreasonable to ask that more than a simple majority be required for confirmation to lifetime appointments to the courts of appeals or the supreme court of the united states, who will render justice and interpret the most fundamental, the basic framing documents of this nation? should something more than a bare majority be required for lifetime appointments to positions of this importance and magnitude? i believe it should. shouldn't we be concerned about a lack of consensus on such appointees who will be called upon to rule upon some of the most profound decisions which inevitably touch upon the political process itself. i think my colleague, senator lautenberg, mentioned the
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decision in gore vs. bush. and if the american people come, or at least a sizable minority of the american people come, to conclude that individuals who are rendering these verdicts are unduly ideological or perhaps unduly partisan themselves, will this not undermine the respect for law and the political process itself and ultimately undermine our system of governance which has brought us here? i fear that it might. and essentially, mr. president, aren't these concerns -- these concerns -- respect for the rule of law, respect for the independence of the judiciary, the importance of building consensus, and the need in times of crisis to lay aside the passions of the moment and understand the importance of restraint on the part of the majorities, aren't these concerns more fundamentally important to the welfare of this republic than four or five individuals and the identities those who will fill these vac ncies? the answer to that must be
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unequivocally "yes." but there are deeper concerns than even these, mr. president. the real concerns that i have with regard to this debate have to do with the coursening of america's politics. in the 6 1/2 years that i have been honored to serve in this body, mr. president, there have been just two moments, two moments of true unity when partisanship and rancor and acrimony was placed aside. the first was in the immediate aftermath of the first impeachment of a president since 1868 and the feeling that perhaps, perhaps we had gone too far. the second was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when our country had literally been attacked and there was a palpable understanding that we were first not republicans or democrats but first and foremost americans. it is time, mr. president, for us to recapture that spirit once again.
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today all too often we live in a time of constant campaigns and politicking, an atmosphere of "win at any cost," an aura of ideological extremism which makes principled compromise a vice not a virtue. today, mr. president, all too often it is the political equivalent of social darwinism, the survival of the fittest, a world in which the strong do as they will and the weak support what they must. america deserves better than that. i would like to say to you, mr. president and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and even to this president, that you two have suffered at our hands. occasionally we have gone too far. occasionally we have behaved in ways that are injudicious. i think particularly about the president's own brother, who was brought to the brink of personal bankruptcy because he was pursued in an investigation by the congress.
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not because he had plundered a savings and loan but because he happened to be the president's son. that, too, was wrong. that, too. each of us is to blame, mr. president, and more importantly, each of us has a responsibility for taking us to the better place that the american people have a right to deserve. there is a need for unity in this land once again. we need to remember the words of a great civil rights leader who once said, we may have come to these shores on different ships but we're all in the same boat now. we need to remember the truth that too many in public life don't want us to understand, that, in fact, we have more in common than we do that divides us. we are children of the same god, citizens of the same nation, one country, indivisible with a common heritage forged in a common bond and a common destiny. it's about time we started behaving that way.
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we need to remember, mr. president, the words of robert kennedy, who was in my home state the day martin luther king was assassinated. indianapolis, indiana, was the only major city in our country that escaped the violence of that day. most attribute it to because of kennedy's presence in our city. he went into indianapolis that evening and before a crowd of several thousand, mostly minority citizens, he went up on a flatbed truck and he looked at the audience, and he said, "i'm afraid that i have some bad news. martin luther king was killed today." and a gasp went up from the audience. he said, for those of you who were tempted to lash out in anger and violence, i can only say that i too had a relative who was killed. he, too, was killed by a white man. and kennedy went on to say, what america needs today in these desperate times is not more
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hatred or more anger or more divisiveness. what america needs today is more unity, more compassion, and more love for one another. that was true in 1968. it is true today. the time has come, mr. preside mr. president, for the sons and daughters of lincoln and the eras of jefferson and jackson to no longer wage war upon each other but instead to take up again our struggles against the aancient enemies of man: ignorance, poverty, and disease. that is what has brought us he here. that is why we serve. mr. president, we need to rediscover the deeper sense of patriotism that has always made this nation such a great place.
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not as democrats or independen independents, not as residents of the south or the east or the west, not as liberals or conservatives or those who have no ideological compass but as one nation, understanding the threats that face us, determined to lead our country forward to better times. and so i will cast my vote, mr. president, against changing the rules of this senate. for all of the reasons i have mentioned in my brief remarks and those who have been mentioned by speakers before me. but more than that, mr. president, i will cast my vote in the profound belief that this is a rare opportunity to put the arrange money aside -- to put the arrange money aside -- acrimony aside, to put us on a path to reconciliation, more understanding, and cooperation for the greater good. and if in so doing i and those
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of similar mind can drain even a single drop of blood of -- of venom from the blood that has coarsed through the body of this politic for too long, then we will have done our duty to this senate and to the republican take has sent us here, and that is reward enough for me. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: thank you, mr. president. first let me begin by commending my colleague, the senator from indiana, for his wise and eloquent words tonight. thank you, senator bayh. thank you very much. this morning, mr. president, i had the occasion to meet with members of my press and the public at the old statehouse in providence, rhode island, the scene of our government -- the seat of our government for many, many years in the early days of this country. in fact, in 170, george washington and thomas jefferson
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enjoyed a banquet in that building to celebrate the constitution of the united states, that careful balancing of majority power and minority rights. unfortunately, in these days in washington, we are on the verge of upsetting that balance, of using minority -- of, rather, using majority power to undermine minority rights. and in doing so, stilling the voices of millions of americans, the millions of americans that we represent. and not just geographically represent, millions of americans, the poor, disabled, those who fight vigorously for environmental quality, all of those individuals will see their voices diminished and perhaps extinguished if we choose this nuclear option. the senate was created to protect the minority.
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it was also clearly envisioned to serve as a check on presidential power, particularly on its power to appoint judges. indeed, it was up to the very last day of the constitutional convention in 1787 that the founding fathers decided to move the power to appoint federal judges from the control exclusively of the senate to that of a process of a presidential nominee with the advice and consent of the senate. indeed, in those last days, there was a shift of power but not a surrender of power. this senate still has an extraordinary responsibility to review, to carefully scrutinize the records of those individuals who would serve for a lifetime on our federal courts. it is very important that the american people when they come before the bar of federal justice, when they stand before a justice of the united states
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to feel, to know that that individual has passed a very high test, that individual is not a republican judge or a democratic judge, not an ideologue of the right or an ideologue of the left, but they have been accepted by the broad base support of the united states senate and they stand not for party but for law and the united states of america. we're in danger of upsetting that balance, of putting on the court people who are committed to an ideological plan. we are seeing people who are being presented to us who will i think undermine that sense of confidence that the american people must have in the judges they face in the courts of this land. and, indeed, it's also ironic that today, as we discuss this issue of eviscerating minority rights in the united states senate, we hear our leaders talk
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about the necessity, the absolute necessity ofthity in i. if you listen to the president, or secretary of state rice and everyone, they talk about how essential it is to ensure that there are real procedural protections for the sunni minority in iraq. in fact, what they are trying to do in iraq they are trying to undo here in america by stripping away those procedural protections that give the minority a real voice in our government. in a recent "national review" article, john cullenin, a former senior foreign policy advisor to the united states catholic bishops, said it very well. he posed the question in this way, "will iraq's overwhelming shiite majority accept structural restraints in the form of guaranteed protections for others, or does the majority see its demographic predominance
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as a mandate to exercise the monopoly of political power?" and this i think, a very telling phrase, sums it up: "does a 60% majority translate into 100% of the political pie?" the question we'll answer today and tomorrow and this week: does a 55-vote majority in the senate translate to 100% of the political pie when it comes to naming federal judges? just as it's wrong in iraq, i believe it's wrong here.÷ because without minority protections, without the ability of the minority to exercise their rights, to raise their voice, this process is doomed to a very difficult, and i think, disastrous end. we have today measures before us that threaten the filibuster. and i believe that this is not
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the end of the story in this nuclear option prevails. because i think the pressure by the interest groups that are pushing this issue, the far right, who are demanding that this nuclear option be exercised, will not be satisfied by simply naming judges. because that's just part of what we do. they will see in the days ahead if this nuclear option succeeds opportunities to strike out our ability to stop legislative proposals, to stop other executive nominees. they'll be unsatisfied and unhappy that in the course of debate and deliberation here we're in the willing to accept their most extreme views about social policy, about economic policy, about the world at large. and the pressure that is building today would be brought to bear on other matters. so this is a very decisive moment and a very decisive step.
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i hope we can avoid stepping over into the abyss. i hope we can maintain the protections that have persisted in this chamber in one form or another for 214 years. the rules give senators many opportunities to express themselves. it's not just the cloture vote. there are procedures to call committee hearings, to call up nominees that have been appointed, and i need not remind many people here that at least 60 of president clinton's judicial nominees never received an up-or-down vote. and it is ironic, to say the least, that many who participated in that process now claim a constitutional right for an up-or-down vote for a federal nominee to the bench. in fact, according to the congressional research, since 1945, approximately 18% of judicial nominees have not
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received a final vote. by that measure, president bush has done remarkably well by his nominees. 218 nominees, 208 confirmations. a remarkable record. which shows not obstruction but cooperation, which shows that this senate acting together with at least 60 votes, but still exercising its responsibility to carefully screen judges have made decisions that by a vast majority favor the president's nominees. that is is not a record of obstruction. that's a record of responsibility. and again, at the heart of this is not simply the interplay of senators and politics. at the end of the day, we have to be able to demonstrate to the american public that if they stand before a federal judge, they will be judged on the law.
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they will be judged by men and women with judicial temperament, that understand not only the law and precedent, but understand they have been given the responsibility to do justice, to demonstrate fairness. if we adopt this procedure rand able to ram through politically idea logically motivated judges that confidence might be fatally shaken, and that would do damage to this country. and the procedure being proposed is not the straightforward attempt to change the rules of the senate because that also requires a supermajority. no, this is a parliamentary employ, and end run aren't rules of the senate. a circumvention and a circumvention that will do violence to the pros sesz here -- process here and against
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create a terrible example for the american public. we have difficult choices before us. there are those who suggest that it is somehow unconstitutionalal not to provide an up-or-down vote. where were they when the 60 judges nominated by president clinton were denied an up-or-down vote? no, the rules of the senate prevail at that time as they should prevail at this time because the constitutional clearly states that each house may determine the rules of its proceedings and we have done that in a myriad of ways and will continue to do that. and the right to unlimited debate in this senate one -- is one of those rules that has been enforced for many, many years. now, we are involved in a debate that has huge consequences for the country and for the senate. i believe that this institution must remain in place, where even
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an individual senator can stand up and speak in such a way and at such length that he not only arose its the conscience of the country but he is able to deflect the country away from a deign russ path. in 1930's president roosevelt also had problems with the court system he thought. he decided he would pack the courts. he would propose the expansion of the united states supreme court even though it was supported by the majority leader at that time, it was brought to this floor and a small band of united states senators stood up and spoke and convinced the public of the wrongness of that path and saved this country, and saved president roosevelt from a grave mistake. today, once again, we're debating of the future of a judicial system, and i believe without the filibuster, we will
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make grave mistakes about who goes on our courts and what will be the makeup of those courts. it might be that i have a particular fondness for the saeublt to -- ability to represent those who are not numerous. i come from the smallest state geographically in the country, rhode island. we have two senators. we have two members of the united states house of representatives. but myself and my colleague senator chafeee stand up and speak and from the force of any of the largest states in this country that is an essential part of our federal system, an essential part of constitution that provided this wise balance between majority rule and minority rights, majority power and minority rights. and we are in danger of seeing that power, i believe, arrogantly displayed,
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potentially undercutting the rights of one senator or two senators or eight senators to stand up, to speak truth to power, to challenge the views, to awaken the conscience of the country, to prevent the accumulation of so much power that we slowly and perhaps inperceptively slide to a position where there is no effective challenge. and that would do a great disservice to this constitutional balance. mr. president, this is a serious debate. a very serious debate. it is one in which i hope cooler heads prevail. it's one in which i hope we all step back and recognize that what we do will effect this institution and that this country for a long time, that we refrain from invoke th-gt nuclear option. that we recognize the tradition itss -- traditions of senate
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because they have served us well. they will continue to serve us well. they will ensure that we continue to speak not just as an exercise in rhetoric but have real effect in this body the greatest deliberative assembly the world has ever known. mr. president, with that i would yield the floor to my colleague from michigan. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, president harry truman once said that the only thing new in the world is the history that you don't know. and so it is today with those who think this effort to amend the rules by breaking them, the nuclear option s something new under the sun. this is not the first time that it has been tried. sadly, there have been a few original efforts to amend the
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rules by fiat but, and this is the crucial point, the senate has never done it. whenever an effort was made to change the rule by fiat, it has been rejected by this body. there are procedures for amending the senate's rules and the senate is always insisted that they be followed. in previous cases, the majority of stphrorz stood up for that principle, often over the wishes of their own party's leader. it's my hope there will be a majority of such senators today. i entered some of that history in the congressional r0rd last week and i'll not repeat it all now. one incident stands out and bears repeating. after tk-g so i'll add a second chapter to that incident. in 1949 vice president alban bar clay ruled that the cloture a34r50eud to a motion to proceed
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to consideration of a bill, in other words, that rule 22, which allows for the cutoff of debate, applied to a motion to proceed to consideration of a bill. the ruling was contrary to senate precedent and against the advice of the senate parliamentarian. it was made despite the fact that rule 22 as it then existed clearly provided only that the pending matter was subject to cloture. the senate rejected vice president bar clay's ruling by a vote of 46-41. significantly, 23 democratic senators, nearly half of the democrats voting, opposed the ruling by the vice president of their own party. later, the senate, using the process providing by senate rules, by a vote of 63-23, adopted a change in rule 22 to
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include a motion to proceed. after that rule change, changed according to the procedures for amending rules, a supermajority could end a debate on a motion to proceed to a bill, for instance, as well as ending debate on the bill itself. last week i quoted the words of one of the giants of senate history, senator arthur van denberg of michigan about that debate, this is what the senator said, "i continue to believe that the rules of the senate are as important to equity and order in the senate as is the constitution to the life of the republic. and that those rules should never be changed except by the senate itself in the direct fashion prescribed by the rules themselves." and senator vandenberg
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continued, "one of the immutable truths in washington's farewell address which cannot be altered even by change events in a changing world is the following sentence: the constitution which at any time exists until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly on pwhreug tory upon all. the father of this country said to us by analogy, the rules of the senate which at any time exist until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole senate are sacredly on pwhreug tory upon all." he continued, "when a substantive change is made in the rules by sustaining a ruling of the presiding officer of the senate, and that is what i contend is being undertaken here, it does not mean that the rules are permanently changed.
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it simply means, he said, that regardless of precedent or traditional practice, the rules hereafter mean whatever the presiding officer of the senate plus a simple majority of senators voting at the time want the rules to mean. we fit the rules to the occasion. instead of fitting the occasion to the rules. therefore, in the final analysis, under such circumstances, there are no rules except the transient unregulated wishes of a majority of whatever quorum is temporarily in control of the senate. and, senator vandenberg added, "that mr. president, is not my idea of greatest deliberative body in the world. no matter how important the pending issues immediate incidence may seem to everybody
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today the integrity of the senate's rules is our pour h- paramount concern today, tomorrow and so long as this great institution lives." senator vandenberg continued, "this is a solemn decision reaching far beyond the immediate consequence and it involves just one consideration what do the present senate rules mean?ñ and for sake of law and order, shall they be protected in that meaning until changed by the senate itself in the fashion required by the rules. senator vandenberg eloquently summarized what is at the root of the nuclear option -- quote -- "the rules of the senate as they exist at any given time and as they are clinched by precedent should not be changed substantively by the interpretive action
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of the senate's the presiding officer, even with the transient sanction of an equally transient senate majority. the rules can be safely changed only by the direct and conscious action of the senate itself, act in the fashion prescribed by the rules. otherwise, no rule in the senate is worth the paper that it is written on. and this so-called greatest deliberative bodty in the world is at the mercy of every change in parliamentary authority. mr. president, tonight i do more than underscore the foresightful words of senator vandenberg, which are all the more significant, because as he made clear, he agreed that the senate's cloture rule needed to be changed in the fashion proposed, but not by using the illegitimate process proposed of amending our
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rules by fiat of a the presiding officer. now, there was even more to it, and it is again directly relevant to the proceeding that is pending. the year was 1948, one year before the barkley ruling, which i just described. senator vandenberg was president pro tempore of the senate and was presented with a motion to end debate on a motion to proceed to consideration of an antipoll tax bill. senator vandenberg ruled as the presiding officer that the then-language of rule 22 providing a procedure for terminating debate for "measures before the senate," did not apply to cutting off debate on the motion to proceed to a measure, even though he thought that it should on the merits. so he ruled against what he believed in on the merits because of his
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deep belief in the integrity of the rules of the united states senate. and in making that ruling, again while serving as the presiding officer, this is what senator vandenberg said, that the president pro tempore, that's him, finds it necessary before nowd announcing his decision to state again that he is not passing on the merits of the poll tax issue, nor is he passing upon the desirability of a much stronger cloture rule in determining this point of order. the president pro tempore is not entitled to consult his own predilections or his own convictions in the use of this authority. he must act in his capacity as an officer of the senate, under oath to enforce its rules as he finds them to exist, whether he likes them or not. of all the precedents, he said, necessary to
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preserve, this is the most important of them all, otherwise the preservation of any minority rights for any minority at any time would become impossible. senator vandenberg continued, "the president pro tempore is a sworn agent of the law as he finds the law to be. only the senate has the right to change the law. the president pro tempore feels that he's entitled particularly to underscore this axiom in the present instance because the present circumstances themselves bring it to such bold and sharp relief." and he furthered stated, again referring to, in his capacity as a senator, the president pro tempore favors the passage of this antipoll tax measure. he is similarly voted on numerous previous occasions in his capacity as president
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pro tempore believes that the rules of the senate should permit cloture upon the pending motion to take up the antipoll tax measure. but in his capacity as president -- president pro tempore, the senior senator from michigan is bound to recognize what he believes to be the clear mandate of the senate rules and the senate precedence, name -- precedent, namely that no such authority presently exists. so again, senator vandenberg says that he believes the rules of the senate should be changed to permit cloture on the pending motion to take up the antipoll tax measure but he is bound to recognize those rules. he cannot rule against what the rules clearly provide. and senator vandenberg
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then went on the say, if the senate wishes to cure this impotence, it has the authority, the power and the means to do so. the president pro tempore of the senate does not have the authority, the power or the means to do so except as he arbitrarily takes the law into his own hands. this he declines to do in violation of his oath. if he did so, he would feel that what might be deemed temporary advantage by some could become a precedent which ultimately in subsequent practice would rightly be condemned by all. i want to emphasize senator vandenberg's point for our colleagues. in the view of that great senator, it would have been a violation of his oath of office to
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change the senate rules by fiat. to rule as the presiding officer contrary to the words of the senate rules, even though he personally agreed with the proposition that the rule needed to be changed. senator vandenberg's ruling was a doubly difficult one because it left the senate with no means of cutting off debate on the motion to proceed to a measure. the senate then voted to change the rules a year or so later with senator vandenberg's support to allow for cutting off debate on the motion to proceed. senator vandenberg's word and his example are highly relevant to us today. the majority leader's tactic to have the presiding officer by decree, by fiat, to
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amend our rule, by exercising the so-called nuclear option is wrong. it has always been wrong, and the senate has rejected it in the past. i want to just simply read that one last line of senator vandenberg one more time. "in his capacity as a senator, the president pro tempore, senator vandenberg, favors the passage of the measure before it. he's voted for it on similar occasions, he said. in his capacity as president pro tempore, he believes the rules of the senate should permit -- should permit -- cloture on the pending motion to take up the measure, but -- and this is the but which everybody in this chamber should think about -- in his capacity as president pro tempore, the senior
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senator from michigan is bound to recognize what he believes to be the clear mandate of the senate rules and the senate precedents, namely that no such authority presently exists. for him to rule as president pro tempore against the clear meaning of rule 22, he said, would be take-to-take the law, the rule into his own hands. senator vandenberg was not about to do that. rule 22 is clear. it takes 60 votes to end debate on any measure, motion or other matter pending before the senate. it doesn't make an exception for nomination of judges. the nuclear option is not an interpretation of rule 22. it runs headlong scboo
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into the words of rule 22 and our rules. we in this body are the custodians of a great legacy, but the unique senate legacy can be lost if we start down the road of amending our rules by fiat of a the presiding officer. we're going to be judged by future generations for what we do here this week. arthur vandenberg has been judged by history, as well. if you want to know what the verdict of history is relative to arthur vandenberg, just look up when we leave this chamber at arthur van den berg's portrait in the senate reception room, alongside of just six other giants from more than 215 years of senate history. as the present-day custodians of the great senate tradition, we should uphold that tradition by rejecting an attempt to change the
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rules by arbitrary decree of the the presiding officer instead of by the process in our rules for chaining our rules -- changing our rules. we must reject that attempt to rule by fiat instead of by duly adopted rules of the united states senate. in that way we will pass on to us a senate that is enhanced and not diminished by x i think we have come to this
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point. we have reached you in the united states senate. shorte requests for a meeting has been set at a time where it was there. he keep as many of his hearings possible. that this our view is given the tendency of them to , to this on monday night have this meeting on tuesday before it is too late.
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i guess he follows this. people start believing it. it is quite interesting that he inks richard cartwright and , but ithinks is wrong was with the state of ohio. he has been waiting for 724 days. assistant secretary, 292 days they had 15 of them.
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>> the two parties go head to head over the senate. there is the application. beuld the minority filibustering and blocking executive branch nominees? the minority have gone a step too far. that has boiled up into this issue as to whether the democrats want to change the rules to prevent filibusters of the executive branch nominees. host: we heard some dramatic words from senator mitch mcconnell that it was changing the institution, 200 years of congress going out the door, this is a legacy that harry reid have on his tombstone.
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guest: sometimes it is hard to know what is staged drama for the floor and audience and how much is really intense disagreement between these two senate leaders. keep in mind that the filibuster was not original to the senate. there was no filibuster of george washington's nominees or most of the 19th century. we do not have filibusters of cabinet level nominees until very recently. it is hard to know whether we totally ruled -- totally ruined the senate by doing away with filibusters area -- with filibusters. host: it will take place on guest: guest: monday, how unusual is that? it is unusual for both parties to meet behind closed doors. they did in the run-up to the impeachment child -- impeachment trial for president clinton. host: what do you think the
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atmosphere will be like? we heard it is a tough time for lawmakers to be here but it is 6:00 in the evening and the session is earlier in the day. guest: republicans have been reaching out to friends on their side to try to diffuse the situation. my hunch is it will be pretty tense but time 6 p.m. rolls around on monday. -- by the time 6 p.m. rolls around on monday. the minority seems intent on not giving up. host: if the democrats agreed to this, and we are going to hear from some democrats a few years ago, what impact will it have if they are on the minority in 2017 or 2019? guest: the minority party, if you change the rules by majority vote we will go nuclear.
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we will low every procedural rich insight in the senate. that is what they threatened. these objected yesterday. the senate needs consent in the afternoon when committees are on the floor. it is considerable that the minority could make the majority quite difficult. it is also conceivable that if democrats do this republicans will come back in office and take away the filibuster on other elements of senate procedure. being the minority, it might give the democrats some pods as to what is left as their rights as a minority. -- some pause as to what is left as their rights as a minority. host: you can send us an e-mail or send us a tweet. some other voices on this,
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including senator barack obama on the senate floor in 2005. [video clip] >> one day democrats will be in the majority again. mr. president, licensed the talk is more about power than fairness -- i sense the talk is more about power than fairness . they can get away with it. the right -- if the right of free and open debate is taken away from the minority party i fear the party atmosphere in washington will be poisoned to the point where no one will be able to agree on anything.
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that does not serve anyone's best interest at it is not what the patriots who founded this democracy had in mind. host: that old line, "where you stand depends on where you sit." three years later barack obama is in the white house and dealing with some of the same issues that has frustrated previous guest: guest: presidents, including george w. bush. where you stand depends on where you sit applies to all senators. when you are in the minority you are going to fight to keep all the rights you have. when you're in the majority, it is quite frustrating to live in a world where minorities can exploit any number of rules to slow down the clock. host: let us look at this graph about approving federal judges, some executive employments. a comparison on the issue of federal judges between president obama, which has had 92 % confirmed and president bush
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that has had 97 % confirmed. that does not seem out of the realm. guest: judging from any of these numbers, they can be sliced and diced in a number of different ways. if we look at conch permission rates -- that confirmation rates by congress, they have plummeted since the 80s. recent congresses have dipped down into the 60s and it has been a little precarious. the perception that it is harder to get nominees from the bench at both levels, it is quite true. host: the filibuster has a ridiculously romantic all right about it. guest: the many people that believe and agree with that, we saw senator rand paul earlier this year, -- we do not see
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these kind of filibusters in part because the minority does not want to spend the time on the floor and the majority does not want to spend time on the floor like that. typically the threat to filibuster is enough to derail the measure or motion. frist, the republican leader and what he had to say a decade ago on the filibuster. [video clip] >> senator reid, the democratic leader and i, have negotiated and taught everything to come to a negotiating position that does what is right. it gives every nominee an up or down vote. senator reid and i -- you see us
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talk in every day. that relationship will continue in a constructive and positive way. we were unable to reach an agreement consistent with the principle of our down votes for all nominees. you do not arbitrarily exclude certain nominees in order to avoid the constitutional option. host: your response. guest: when you are in the majority and you are the leader, the efforts by the minority to slow down and filibuster nominees is frustrating. many people believe the president should have the capacity to put the team on the bench. the majority -- the minority does not want to give that leeway. you see senator reid equally
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frustrated over the tactics. host: this tweet from a viewer. democracy is mob rule. this is from our facebook page. the government is broken because the gop is splitting down the middle between normal republicans and the far right. be careful what you wish for. guest: there are divisions in the republican party making it difficult for the legislative process. that has the lock step republican opposition. this is not a renegade group of republicans. this is the republican party position about these agencies. host: again, sarah binder from the brookings institution. caller: i just wanted to call and give a comment on your previous question about congress.
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i just wanted to say i didn't necessarily think it is congress that is broken. it is the side groups that are not mentioned a lot in the media, such as the trilateral commission, the federal reserve, and all of these groups of manipulating the currency and using false flag terror attacks to get us into these wars all over the world trying to move society into a global order. the founder of the bavarian high luminosity in 1776 -- bavarian illuminati in 1776 -- host: on our website, a lot of people focusing on these outside groups. the impact of foreign money.
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guest: here is a lot of money that fuels the campaign. there is an inordinate amount of time spent by senators in their election year raising money. there are differences of opinion on whether the money makes a difference. the time warp on the chase for the dollar certainly makes a difference. caller: i hope you make the distinction when you play the comparison of the democrats in 2005 but this is specifically nominees, not the entire filibuster. i think the filibuster should be lowered to 55 because the days
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of the huge majority are gone. they tend to go to been far. remember in 1995 when republicans took control of the house and they railed against the earmarks. there were 16,000 earmarks. when the republicans took over, it jumped to 36,000. same thing with the filibuster. lyndon johnson, as the leader, had 1. the republicans want to draw out the game and get nothing done until the end of the term. there is an old at age that when democrats take power, though there is there is an old addage that when democrats take power, they seek more power. the old folks are not the problem. it is the young republicans who are intent on be constructing
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the government, making it not work from inside -- deconstructing the government, making it not work from the inside. if the people in the red states suffer the consequences to cut services, they do not suffer because the democrats protect the poor and working-class, democrats and republicans. he railed against what benefits to them and do not suffer the consequences when these things are chopped up. host: i will leave it there. thanks for your comments. guest: you are correct about this parliament carry arms race: on in the senate for 15 or 20 -- arms race going on in the senate
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for 15 or 20 years. we see the filibuster spread from the desire to measures to judicial nominees to executive branch nominees. it is tough to a clampdown on. if you do not, it is tough to get the -- it is tough to clamp down on. if you do not, it is tough to get the senate to work. host: let me show you this article. a day of friction notable for even a fraction congress. the chaos reflects the reality that congress has been reduced from a law making entity to a political operation in which positions are taken and fermented largely in the name of maintaining party unity rather than attracting votes from the other side. the minority is powerless to do anything but protests. senate republicans have the power to filibuster, which is
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why they are so adamantly opposed to the democrats' gambit. guest: here is a lot of truth to what we call message politics. taking a vote to drive a message to each policy states. the less inclination there is to meet and legislate. the senate worked its way through immigration reform with over 60 votes. there was a farm build this year. i do not think we should over estimate the extent of this message politics. it is there. it has not entirely precluded legislative progress. host: this point from gary. if the nuclear option in the senate goes through, it'll be the first step to another
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shooting civil war in this country. this from facebook. 10 foot mice taking constant opinion polls within their district to see which way the wind is blowing about their base so they won't accidentally alta against it. guest: one person's finger in the wind is another person's hyper-responsiveness. how much do we want them tied to their constituencies? there is no right answer to that. that is what people disagree about these numbers and the stance they are willing to take. host: we will go to roger on the in thing . good morning. caller: our founding fathers came up with a solution in the constitution.
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it provided an option for an upward mobility within politics. why haven't they utilize that since 1958 in high -- hawaii? we have problems with voting and voter apathy. host: ok. we will get a response. thanks, roger. guest: we do have a first to create new congressional districts in more representatives for the district of columbia. that has proven quite contentious. the parties disagree. they do not want the other party to benefit. if they cannot add a seats, they cannot at a state. host: sarah binder is a graduate of yale university and earned her doctorate from the university of minnesota. she worked in the house in the
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1980's. she has altered or co-authored a number of books. she is also a former professor at george washington university. we are here to take your calls as we looked at the senate filibuster rule. there will be a meeting on monday. closed to cameras. we wish we could be inside. guest: i am not remember why the old senate chamber has such historical links to it. there was the caning of a senator from massachusetts. the history of the place is a little bit tainted from the past. host: a familiar figure on capitol hill, senator chuck schumer of new york had this to
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say. [video clip] >> we are on the precipice of a constitutional crisis. the checks and balances that have been at the core of this republic are about be evaporated by the nuclear option. the checks and balances which say that if you get 51% of the vote, you do not get your way 100% of the time. it is almost a temper tantrum by those on the hard right. they won their way every single time. it will change the rules, the rate the rules, miss read the constitution -- misread the constitution so they will get their way. that is not becoming of the leadership on the republican side of the aisle. that is what we call abuse of
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power. host: sarah binder, from may 2005 from chuck schumer. is this a constitutional issue or are these simply senate rules? guest: it is a look at part of the israelites in the senate. the-parliamentary life in the senate. -- parliamentary life in the senate. the senate cannot put too many restrictions on how it changes its rules. if you look in the senate rule, you'll book requires a two- thirds said -- 2/3 voting -- the rule book requires two-thirds. the constitution let us run our own rules.
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it has never been tested like this before. it has not been used to change the threshold of rule 22. that is what is making it so explosive. host: we are focusing on the filibuster rule. bob is on the phone from jacksonville, florida. good morning. calm good morning. -- good morning. caller: good morning. yesterday, they threw together the heritage foundation, this larger group of people, and got a parliamentarian from the johnson administration.
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they had this big mass audience and c-span went live to it and think that showed it three times since then. i have xm radio in my bedroom. they had it on all night long. a head to hit up and turned the tv on to see who these crazy folks were. they are insane about this. i was one of the people who were pushing harry reid to go january of this year. we spoke to liberal folks and all we are going to get that. and we did. the agreement he had was that he would do the nuclear option but
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the republicans would filibuster. they have filibustered everything since then. what can he do? there is nothing left for him to do. the heritage foundation left out everything but the republican talking points. if you want to listen to that host: we will get a response. sarah binder. guest: , picked up on what we saw on the floor last week -- the caller picks up on what we saw on the floor last week. senator reid has been frustrated that the changes did not go up. they believe the minority has not kept its side of the bargain, which would be to suspend filibusters in occasions
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with these are not extraordinary circumstances. that are driving it to the brink to say he is going to go through with a compromise. he feels he has been burned in a compromise. in it will actually go through. host: let me show you a comment from our facebook page. there were 4 million people in the u.s. one of our constitution was written. there are 315 million. times have changed. in our constitution should be updated with the times. maybe congress will work better
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under of data rules. guest: it is a good point about the difficulty of running a modern senate with old rules. reid and frist before him are not the first to complain about the senate where a minority factions rule the day. this is an old problem. it lends support to the forces the say perhaps it is time to fine-tune some of these rules. host: best about the process of what will happen on monday. they will gavel about 530, take it will call voted and recessed to -- at about 5:30 p.m., take a roll call and recess.
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guest: one thing to keep in mind if you have a notion to change the rules, it is supposed to stay on the calendar overnight. i would keep my eye on whether or not the majority put it on the calendar to change the rules. if they want to rely on what tactics their corn to take, there is no set nuclear option. he cannot -- and what tactics they are going to take. the majority reenter precise rules. it is kind of a mix. we need a precise set of steps that might be taken. host: how significant is this debate for the senate as an institution? guest: my guess is it does not actually happen in the caucus, but it happens this weekend in conversation or after the caucus. i cannot imagine the senate replicating the type of debate we saw on the floor in augusta. the question is, once the cameras go away, is there any more meeting of the month. is there a procedural path that will give the two size with a 1? i am not so sure. host: senator reid and senator mcconnell will be appearing tomorrow morning on meet the press. you can listen to that nbc program beginning at noon eastern on c-span radio at 9:00 a.m.
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drew is joining us from sebastian, florida on the republican line. caller: good morning. numerous comments have been made. so many things have changed since the 17th amendment. k street and involvement of the lobbyists and the possibility. the senate was supposed to be a popular vote. it represents the states and the government. why do we have the problem with the courts? because you haven't popular representative and not a state rep. there were so many things never change in the early 20th century that affect us now that have done even been mentioned. host: thanks for the call. we will get a response.
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guest: the caller is right. we had constitutional amendments to change the makeup of the senate. the days of stay selection of their senators were not as rosy as we think. different factions would buy off their members to send them to the senate. is there another way we might think the moves to elected senators i have been an improvement, even if we still see money in the system? host: michael is joining us from akron, ohio. good morning. caller: i have two comments concerning the fact that people claim obama never had a honeymoon after he took office. those people who make that claim are absolutely right.
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there are two reasons he never had a honeymoon after he took office. those are george w. bush and oprah winfrey. when george w. bush was elected, it took six weeks to really claim a victory in that election. oh, knew the nine of his election that he had won. i recall rush limbaugh and other consultants on the radio beam data that a bomb went around the country with a big -- on the radio work mad that obama went around the country with a big placard saying president of the united states. host: we will get a response. sarah binder? guest: present a bomb had a pretty hard time despite having a democratic house and the democratic sen. he did not give any cooperation from the minority party. they claim they were excluded. democrats claimed they did not want to play ball. the president got quite a been
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done in his first two years. -- quite a bit gun in his first two years. that came to a halt with the republicans gaining the house in 2010.
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host: let's look at the republicans at the center of this debate led by harry reid. the labor secretary nominee, the epa administrator, the head of the export-import bank. there are a number nominee -- a number of nominees to serve on the national labor relations
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board. where is this coming from? guest: here is a lot of organized pressure coming from groups on the left including strong constituencies from national labor relations board. we have seen these pressures before. when have seen labor unions. they underd ator their agenda, they'll understand the importance of a functioning cent. i do not think senators will do things they would not otherwise do even if there is pressure from the left of the right on them. it is keeping the pressure on senator reid not to give in on these particular executive branch nominees. otherwise, these agencies will not reach the light of day. host: one of your rights that the senate should focus on legislating and that become part of the problem. guest: inside the beltway, it is hard to know what is perceived outside the beltway. there is a lot of attention on counting up all of these nominations and trying to weigh these claims. the data can be used in all sorts of ways. tough job for journalists to make sense of competing claims.
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host: making sense of this debate is orrin hatch from utah. [video clip] >> as you can see, this is a mess. it is not a good mess. we protect the rights of the minority. it was just a few years ago that the majority leader was arguing for those rights himself, saying the senate would be destroyed if we went to a nuclear option, which nobody did. it has never been done before and should not be done now. the fact of the matter is they
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are playing parliamentary tricks with regard to this. they are doing it to the detriment of the united states senate. host: the comments of senator orrin hatch. even in a congress where bipartisanship and comedy are the exception to the regular order, the near employers and on capitol hill was notable and both chambers erupted in the end fewer -- furor that lasted the rest of the day. guest: the farm bill. ripping up a 50 year agreements in order to get it passed with conservative republicans.
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we had senator reid and senator mcconnell going at it all day. it is rare to see that much attention paid in that much passion on the floor of the house and the senate. both majorities and minorities are upset over the prospects of what was happening in their own chambers. host: we have a few seconds left with sarah binder from the brookings institution. caller: i would like to make a couple of points. usually, when the president nominate someone, they give him deference and he gets the people he wants for his cabinet. the that the number as compared to president obama and present bush and other republicans. they are filibustering obama's nominees for next to nothing. i hope harry reid goes nuclear and gets rid of the filibuster. how can anyone negotiate with these is the tea party people like ted crews and these other ones and rand paul? they refuse ted cruz and rand paul and the other ones.
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they refuse to compromise. host: this is george joining us from georgia on the republican line. go ahead, please. caller: every time the republicans oppose a bill or something like that, harry reid closes it down. does c-span.org anybody have a record? has anything gotten on the floor that the republicans have
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proposed or is it always harry reid's way or the highway? on the second point, the caller is tapping a concern that is raised by republicans. if you look at the number of cloture votes, it has gone up exponentially even in the last four years. democrats claim that is because republicans filibuster everything. the republicans claimed the democrats are trigger happy. we disagree about what is the program about of debate and what of section there is and what is cheering all of these cloture motions. the democratic norm is the majority set agendas. if it were the case that only democrats got bills on the floor, that would not be egregious.
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he and my that they got immigration reform. the democrats needed a 60 votes and the only have 54 or 55 within their own branch. there always have -- always has to be compromise. the two parties disagree. the republicans say, we have not had any successful filibusters. all of the nominees got into their offices. the democrats say, you try to filibuster them. the question is, should the president be able to put a cabin in office without questioning the minority. it would be the republican majority if they were the majority. host: how long do you think the meeting will take place on monday and what you think the outcome will be? guest: it depends on what happens beforehand. my hunch is that it goes an hour or two, but senators do not want to spend an hour. why stay there for an hour and half the there is no conclusion. that is the debate. the son of trauma spilled over since tuesday.
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the-some -- some sort of trauma spilled over tuesday. host: stuart reid will join us in a couple of minutes. he is with foreign affairs magazine. he will talk about the role of one freshman senator, rand paul. this is about 20 minutes. >> we worked on things together. successfully. i hope we will future. would take exception to his conclusions. i have seen this institution
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change dramatically in 17 years. we have faced more gridlock, a couldaste of time that i ever imagine would occur in this great institution. it has become commonplace for us to face filibuster after filibuster. people at home would turn on c- to theiring closely television screens and look to see if there is any evidence of life on the floor of the united states senate. are these people moving? are they away cap oh they go on for --hours -- wake? to him awake? 30 hours at athe time, we are likely -- lucky to do one or two a week. the immigration bill, i thought is one of our better. too often now, we are facing
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the filibusters on the president's nominees. , presidenttake barack obama won the election on november 6 of last year. the other side of the aisle on complete denial of that. he wants to put together a team to lead and brings it to the senate for confirmation. time and again, they are facing filibusters from the republican side of the aisle. one even perceive the last election. richard, attorney general in the state of ohio, an extraordinarily gifted public by presidentn obama to head up the consumer protection bureau. this is the only consumer protection bureau in the federal government. an important agency, we created it. for more than two years, his
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nomination has been held on the floor of the united states senate the republican minority. --t is unexceptional unacceptable and fundamentally unfair. no one has ever raised a question about his integrity. they do not like the notion of a consumer protection agency. that is it. , the for two years national labor relations board sits down in judgment of labor practices across america for the safety of our workers, organization of workers. it is an important agency. a formerrds of senator, there are some on the other side of the aisle who hate the national relations board like the devil hates holy water. they do not want to see it exists. they cannot abolish it and they know it. they stop at for having a
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functioning majority and they stop norm -- nominees the president submits to fill the vacancies at the national labor relations board, time and time again. the same thing is true when it comes to the firearms bureau. agency is opposed by many in the gun lobby. since the -- since the time we have said the agency should be filled, there has never been a person appointed. it is the approach on the other side of the aisle to stop agencies from doing their work and this has to come to an end. i do not want to see this happen in the senate. i do not want to see the current situation continue. senator harry reid met with andblican leaders, sat down worked out a bipartisan agreement to avoid what we are facing right now. he was criticized by many democrats who said, come on, just leave me alone. they will not work with you.
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notwill find out if you do change the rules of the senate, you will not get the job done. harry said, i would rather get -- do it on a bipartisan agreement. he made the effort and they did not work. today, we find ourselves in the situation with key executive employment stints -- stalled and byd up. jean was nominated president obama to head the environmental protection agency. what is her background? serving the head of the epa in the state of massachusetts. under governor romney. she was governor romney's official. bipartisan in her approach. her name came before the regular senate process. theydid the other side do submitted a few questions for an answer. not just a few. 1100gave her a list of
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questions to answer. -- tactics tod at delay or stalled good people from serving. sorts of things have got to come to an end. to there going to give president the power and authority to lead the nation as he was elected to do, the senate can no longer stand as an obstruction to that exercise of authority and the people and guys sits of america. that is what this is about. many republican colleagues have reached out to me, saying, is there a way to avoid this gecko -- this? there is. the notion that we will walk away from these or other key
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nominees in the future is not fair and ivan -- i invite my republican colleagues to vote no if they disapprove. from evene senate coming to a vote, it has been going on for too long. ,f we cannot resolve this issue let's end the obstruction in the senate and make sure the rules reflect the reality the president should have the executive employments he needs. i yield the floor. class we have been talking about the nominations process, but i think it is worth reviewing the to compare how nominees have been treated. .here is broad misunderstanding
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when you do not know what the facts are, where the facts you truly believe and are wrong, you will reach the wrong -- conclusion. a fair look at the facts would demonstrate president obama and his nominees have been treated more than fairly. as a matter of fact, 1500 and 560 nominees of president obama have been confirmed. airing before .5 if you him 1560 nominees of president obama have been confirmed. president obama's nominees have waited on average 51 days. from the time they were nominated to the time they were confirmed.
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four president george w. bush, it was 52 days. for president bill clinton, 55. tosident obama has nothing complain about relative to president george w. bush and president clinton in terms of the amount of time it has taken or his nominees to be voted on by the senate. as far as judges are concerned, there have been 199 of president obama's nominees confirmed the district court. only two of them have been defeated. 99% success rate, which is pretty good. had 20nt obama appellate judges confirmed since his second inauguration. that compares to 10 under
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president george w. bush. i miss stated that. that is 28 judges the district -- at the district court level. the number is correct, 28 for president obama and 10 four president george w. bush at this same point in their presidencies. it is astonishing to me, in andt of these facts, someone once said facts are stubborn things, but if you acknowledge the facts, it is hard for me to understand where the sense of outrage and urgency comes from with regard to the president's nominees. our colleagues across the aisles new sense of urgency to change the long-standing rules are based on a misunderstanding or willful ignorance of the facts.
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this is a manufactured crisis with no grounding in objective reality. say is the nicest way i can it. the facts show president obama's nominees have moved through the senate at a pace quicker than its present -- predecessors. to theout the nominees national labor relations board? becausee a special case the circuit court of appeals in district of columbia found the president exceeded his constitutional authority to make an appointment to these positions in a reported position from the court. congress orecause the senate denied the president his choice for these nlrb appointees. the president nominated them on december 15, 2011, before christmas.
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the president nominated them on december 15, right before christmas in 2011, and the president appointed the same nominees on january 4, 2012. astonishing is the paperwork for the nominations had not made its way over to the senate. the committee of jurisdiction had not had an opportunity to have a hearing on nominees. despite that, the president sought to circumvent the advice and consent function for the senate written in the united states constitution and make what he called a recess appointment. another notable fact is the president himself decided, not the senate, when we were in recess, leading the court of appeals, when they reviewed , said there was really no
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difference between what the president did in terms of determining the senate was in recess, and deciding to do it while we were raking for lunch. and held that it was, as i said, not constitutional. were not even given a chance to review his nominees to the work, much less block them. after the court ruled these appointments unconstitutional, the president nominated them this past february. they were -- they were reported in may out of the committee, and due to the inaction of the majority leader, essentially the traffic cop or -- for the senate floor, they have not been put up for a vote by the majority leader. an important fact i think most people do not fully appreciate. a i wanted to propose nominee, i would not have any standing to do so. it is the majority leader of the
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united states senate representing the majority party, the one who determines when these nominees will come up for a vote. to say that somehow it is the minorities fault these individuals have not been put up for a vote completely distorts how the senate -- operates. it is didn't -- disingenuous. a series of compromises on nominations at the beginning of this congress. they the -- a deal was struck. in exchange for republican support, the majority leader gave his word here on the senate not attempt to change the senate rules other than through the regular order. what that means is the distinguished senator from kansas knows, that means going to the rules committee and going to the floor in six to seven votes -- 67 votes,.
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the majority gave his word and said he would not try to invoke the nuclear option, but would rather seek to change the rules through the regular order, which would require 67 votes on the senate floor. as it turns out, senator reid is willing to apparently go back on poised to break the rules of the united states senate in order to get his way. many of our colleagues said, when we questioned them about this, why would there be an extraordinary power grab and drinking of one's word? what is the rationale for this? same have gone to the facts i described earlier, president obama's nominees have been treated at least as fairly or even more so than president
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clinton and president george w. bush, and our democratic colleagues says this is just a narrow, modest change that would only apply to nominees to position in this administration. that is not the way the senate work. if you break the rules in order to change the rules, there is a slippery slope to extend the same practice, not only to nominations, executive nominations, but also federal judges and to ordinary legislation, which would allow the tierney of the majority and to deny the the opportunity to influence ordinary legislation or to make sure it's voice was heard when it comes to nominees. the argument that this is some sort of narrow fix designed to break some imaginary logjam with regard to this, is just false.
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majority leader goes through with this nuclear will have set a new precedent in the senate, one that says it is permissible to break the rules of the senate at any point in the congress simply to get your own way if the has the gumption to do it. i hope the majority leader is aware of the magnitude of this decision and i hope members of our democratic caucus understand what this means. i have been here long enough to have been in the majority and minority. being in the majority is more fun. minorities are more fleeting and the shoe will be on the other foot. shortsighted and an abuse of our process. to jam these nominees through
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based on a manufactured an imaginary crisis. and change the senate forever as we know it. the majority leader understands the consequences will forever alter the nature of and not oneution based just on the rules but based on the relationships important to getting anything done. we all understand the rules are important. fundamentally, the way the united states senate operates, regardless whether republicans or them that, regardless where we come from, is your word is your bond. we have to be able to believe when colleagues across the aisle, no matter what the political difference as may be, you have toe word, be able to depend on it. if you cannot depend on the word, and when the majority leader says he will not invoke the nuclear option, if you cannot depend on his word, it
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forever undermines the important relationships and trust and confidence we should be able to have in this institution. just to go over a few other short points, the senate's considering president obama's executive nomination as faster than any other recent president. i've talked about that reads like. of the president 's cabinet nominees confirmed recently the energy secretary confirmed 90 1-0. 97-0. the majority leader decided finally to put the nomination on the floor. it was unanimous. .7-0 everybody voted for it. .ack lew, 71-26
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the office of management and budget, 96-0. 94-3kerry was confirmed and confirmed only seven days after the senate got his nomination. the administrator for the centers of medicare and medicaid services was confirmed 91-7. voice vote, there was not even a recorded vote, essentially a unanimous decision of the senate. 100-0, secretary of commerce, 97-1. it is worth recalling some of the words spoken by different members of the senate. this is the kind of thing that will come back to haunt you if you flip-flop and take a different position later on.
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this is harry reid december 8 2006. he said as majority leader, i intend to run the senate with respect for the rules and minority rights the rules protect. the senate was established to make sure that minorities are protected. majorities can't always protect themselves, but minorities cannot. that is what the senate is all about. then there is the majority with, senator durbin. this is april 15, 2005. said those who would attack and destroy the institution of the filibuster are attacking the very words within the senate that reads compromise and bipartisanship. if that is true, and i agree it is, why in the world would any vote to- senator destroy the very force in the
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senate that create compromise and bipartisanship, particularly when making decisions that affect 319 million americans. then there is the president of the united states when he was in senate, april 13, 2005. ifator barack obama said the majority chooses to end the filibuster, they choose to change the rules and put an end to the democratic debate, then the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse. i realize that we are passionate about our positions on the various issues that come of the senate. that is entirely appropriate. convictions about these important issues. but this is the only place left in the country, perhaps, where we can actually debate these in an open and responsible way and
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we can be held accountable by the people who sent us here. inwe are willing to engage this sort of shifty behavior, if we are willing to break our word in order to get momentary political advantage, then i think the public's confidence in the united states senate will be completely undermined and we will have lost our effectiveness, and the very bonds of trust so important in order to get things done around here will have been broken. nd for what? for a temporary advantage over five, or six, or seven executive nominees. had put thesed nominations on the floor, we would see the vast majority of them confirmed a long time ago.
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the only reason why they were not was because he chose not to do so. what he has done is to put them on the floor now in this time before the august recess, and to create a manufactured crisis so he could then invoke the nuclear option and can -- and convinced members of his own caution -- caucus they are to break party to gain temporary advantage. it is incredibly shortsighted and one that i think will exacerbate the great rock -- gridlock and divisions. madam president, i yield the floor. >> before the senate returns to work on monday, majority leader reid will speak about the filibuster from the senate for american progress at 10:30 a.m. eastern live here on c-span.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] host: richard norton smith has
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served as the executive director of a number of presidential libraries. he is also an author and lecturer at george mason university. it was 40 years ago this summer we learned about the nixon tapes. "newsweek" had on its cover the caricature of the recording device inside the white house. i want to share some of those conversations including this from august of 1972 as president nixon running for reelection in a phone call on the upcoming campaign and his rival senator john mcgovern. [video clip] >> i would suggest it is more than a little lie. i would not let him get away with the hitler stuff. >> he did a good job on that yesterday. we have a bunch of people hitting that. >> that is good. i do not want ron to say a word. the purpose of this is defensive. i want the charge and words used it is a dirty campaign of slander, lies, vilification. >> i hit on that last night. >> about the hitler thing? >> we expected george mcgovern to conduct a high-level campaign and he has not. >> let them say that. figure out a better word, a campaign of smear and fear. >> slander, smear and fear. host: let's put this in perspective. it was august of 1972.
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it was after the break-in. you have a sense of richard nixon's political insight. guest: it is a fascinating conversation on different levels. richard nixon is riding high in the polls. he has a two to one lead over george mcgovern. it is fascinating that with the kind of thing in the making that the president is parsing mcgovern's -- one of the interesting things about richard nixon is people who knew him well observed he was in much better campaign manager for other people than he was for himself. maybe all presidents tend to put themselves in the position of campaign manager. it is fascinating listening to him come up with slogans to
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encompass with the anti-mcgovern message should be when in fact mcgovern was destroying his own campaign. host: we are talking about the nixon tapes. our phone lines are open. we welcome your comments and questions. we have the line for democrats, republicans, and our address on the internet. you can also send us a tweet. richard nixon was not the first president to have a recording device in the white house. he certainly was not the last. guest: i think if you gave historians sodium pentothal, they would give you differing answers. everyone, especially post-nixon, decries the practice. certainly in our lifetime it will never happen again. on the other hand, there is a
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generation of historians thathe is a a a a a a i and a you as you an have been able to find things as a result of the nixon and kennedy tapes. there is a lot that is different about the nixon tapes. lots of people think he had them from the beginning. he did not. one of the first things he did was take out president johnson's elaborate taping system. he only installed one of his own halfway through the first term. when we talk about the nixon tapes, we're talking about from january of 1971 until july of 1973.
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the biggest difference in addition to how large part they were, they were not just in the oval office. they were at camp david. they were in the lincoln room. they were extensive. all the other taping systems had been manually operated. that meant he was up to the president to decide whether or not to activate. in the case of richard nixon, in part because those who knew him well knew he was not very adept with things technological, something i can sympathize with, it was not manual. it was a voice activated. everyone who ventured into these areas was preserved for posterity. not terribly well. one of the problems for people who have studied the tapes, there are a lot of technological
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shortcomings beginning with the tape itself. whatever you think of the practice, and it is hard to countenance it morally, historians will tell you has produced what nixon wanted, the best chronicle that documented american presidency in history. host: do you think he forgot the recordings were on? guest: i think he forgot. it is a great question. it requires us to get inside richard nixon's head, not an easy thing to do. those who have listened to the tapes are of the opinion there are times he is speaking for
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history, he is very cognizant of it. one of the theories as to why he installed the taping system was because at the beginning in 1971, that is the year when the outreach to china and the soviet union, when these historic policies took shape. nixon knew they were in the works and wanted to make sure he had a comprehensive historical record. but for the most part, i think you can say after a while he forgot they were on. host: all this month on c-span radio, you will have a chance to hear more of these nixon recordings as we look back at what the former president said in these conversations, including one with his national security adviser and later secretary of state henry kissinger on the situation in vietnam. this from 1972. [video clip] >> i would like to hope not. >> everything is going along. >> killing a lot of vietnamese. >> it must be a murder scene. >> the vietnamese are planning a protest. that is what we want.
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>> basically grind them up. >> whatever they can do in september and october. >> that have not to occur to me, but you are right. it is like lam sanh. what they shoot them, they cannot shoot later. i was reading your intelligence folder this morning. i do it every now and then to keep my head in it. what was impressive to me is thank god we have the carriers and b-52s out there. we have the extra ones. that is the point. they can lambaste the hell out of them. >> we could not have accomplished it otherwise. i keep getting a lot of reports about how much they are hurting. >> incidentally, one other thing. there is a column in the "washington post" this morning
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that says hanoi loves mcgovern. that is something. >> so true. host: i want to ask about the relationship between richard nixon and henry kissinger. the quality of these recordings are different from what we heard in the johnson tapes and early roosevelt recordings in a difficult year. guest: much better than a lot of the nixon tapes. i have to tell you i have not listened to a lot of the nixon tapes. what we hear this morning is considerably better than much of what has been preserved.
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host: richard nixon and henry kissinger. guest: last word about the relationship will not be written for a long time. one of the theories on why he installed the taping system was given the diplomatic initiatives he wanted to pursue was to make sure history would credit him and not his secretary. at that time, he was not a secretary of state. he was a national security adviser.
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there was always at its best a creative tension between the president henry kissinger. historians are still angling over who is responsible for what. one thing these calls made clear is it does not matter who is president or what party they belong to, presidents want to hear people agreeing with them. it is the single biggest danger in many ways. people talk about the bible. there is a physical bubble that comes with the presidency. there is a more dangerous bubble. it is the tendency of people, ambitious people, people who are your supporters, people who have an agenda, to tell you what they think you want to hear. host: there is one line where henry kissinger says, mr. president, that was the finest speech ever delivered by anyone. this is from one of our viewers going back to the 1972 campaign.
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did he micromanage? guest: that is a great question. i think he was significantly involved in terms of setting the themes. i do not think he was at the level of determining schedules and where he would go, that sort of thing. richard nixon never ran for office without in effect running his campaign. that was no exception. the reality is he could have gone away for three months. he could have sat on an island somewhere for three months and would have won 60% of the vote. host: july 30, 1973, cover story. "the nixon tapes." jimmy is joining us from georgia.
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caller: i would like to ask about the kenneth letter and muskie campaign that failed. was it ever shown one of nixon's people had anything to do with the kenneth letter that caused muskie to start crying? guest: there was a dirty tricks operation. i want to be careful. there was a gentleman named donald involved in some of those activities. tracing direct lines to the oval office is difficult. but there is no doubt the nixon campaign pursued the activities you mentioned. what happened is "the union leader" had attacked muskie using typical language. he referred to dwight eisenhower. if you lived in new hampshire in those days, you either loved or hated "the union leader."
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what happened was edmund muskie was responding to that editorial. he stood outside the "union leader" building in manchester in a snowstorm to defend the honor of his wife. to this day, there is an argument over whether he was "crying" or whether there was snow on his face melting. in any event, it was one of the first instances where flap would not have been a significant development but was magnified. there was no doubt richard nixon would rather run against george mcgovern than edmund muskie. host: there is memorabilia including the front page from the next day with him on the
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flatbed truck. robert has this. guest: i am not familiar with the quote so i would not dispute it. there is no doubt a view permeated the white house that was not unique to the nixon white house but highly developed in the nixon white house of victimization, particularly on vietnam. richard nixon felt he had inherited an unpopular war and lots of folks who had reluctantly supported the war as
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long as there was a democrat in the white house changed their positions as long as there was a republican in the white house. that said, it is never an attractive stance for the so- called most powerful man in the world to see himself as a victim of more powerful forces, including a talk-show host. host: vietnam was the topic of conversation in june of 1972. less than a week after the watergate break-in. here's more from that conversation with president nixon in 1972. [video clip] >> no more draftee thing. that was well-handled, i presume. >> it was good. in particular, tough questioning
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about the air force personnel and thailand. it went very well. it was a whole commentary of supporting this thing, that this is the best thing the north vietnamese can expect. >> i always get concerned when they raise the question about air and naval forces. do not worry about it. >> more important than the 10,000 people in my opinion is the no draftees. that depersonalizes it. mothers know their kids do not have to go off and get shot at. kids know it. if they want to be there, that is their business. that changes the character of it
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significantly. that did play well. you will have an opportunity -- >> i suppose the question is how many draftees are in the air force and naval forces. do you get my point? >> yes, sir. host: some insights on richard nixon, his conversation with chuck colson, june 24, 1972. one take away from the conversation is a different media environment than today. guest: very true. in those days, there were three television networks. they controlled 95% of the audience. we did not have cable tv. we did not have the internet. it worked both ways. richard nixon was one of the last american presidents who could use the bully pulpit in ways that moved in numbers.
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the white house could call three men in new york city at 1:00 and be assured of having primetime that night. eric sevareid offered what was called instant analysis. today the president wants to make a speech. he may not be on three networks. it does not particularly matter. he will be on cable. cable is defined by their own ideological colorages. forget eric sevareid. before he is halfway through his speech, millions are twittering their analysis. it is a different environment. it was famously said the chief job of the president is to persuade people. it is a lot harder to persuade people today than it was in richard nixon's time.
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that is one reason why nixon seems obsessed with the media and what they are saying about him. he knows how powerful an instrument they are for public office. host: our guest is richard norton smith. we're looking at the nixon tapes 40 years after they become became public knowledge. we're airing these on c-span radio during the month of july. you can listen to the recordings anytime online at c-span.org. the next call is from california on the independent line. caller: i have a question regarding -- when president johnson was in the white house, i think he was talking to senator dirksen. president johnson knew nixon's people were messing with the vietnam war promising to get out of the war. if johnson would have brought that up, the think it would be possible nixon would never have been president? host: appreciate the call. this is from another viewer about a secret plan.
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guest: the idea of the secret plan was called vietnamization. i think he was surprised and disappointed the north vietnamese were as intractable in response to his efforts to gradually extract the united states from the war as they were to any offers from lbj. the other question the caller raises, i think what he is referring to is at the end of the 1968 campaign when hubert humphrey had broken with lbj and indicated he would go further than president johnson in terms of stopping the bombing of north vietnam, lbj in the last days, thursday before the election, announced a bombing pause. the impression was that peace was at hand. this is something still disputed on both sides. clearly there were nixon
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supporters who sent the message to the president in saigon that is not in your interest to cooperate. give us a few days. you will have a friendlier president in the white house. the classic line about history is arguments without end. we're still wrangling over what happened and what was behind it. the tapes help but they are just one tool. host: we will air some of the johnson recordings next month on c-span radio. all this information is available on our website. this month, we're focusing on the nixon tapes. you had a thought? guest: the johnson tapes are fascinating. unlike the nixon tapes, the johnson tapes turned out to be his memoirs. he wrote a book where he expunged almost any sign of personality. he took out everything that was lyndon johnson. his strengths and idiosyncracies, for that you have to listen to tapes. they were supposed to be closed for 50 years. mrs. johnson gave her permission
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to open the tapes. they have probably done more to aid his reputation than anything he ever wrote. the nixon tapes have not had the same impact. host: bob dole is turning 90 this month. president ford would be turning 100. both are often referred to in the nixon tapes. did you ever talk to ford or dole about the tapes? guest: it is interesting. dole made a joke about it. i am not speaking ill of the dead. everyone knew that chuck colson underwent a profound spiritual conversion in his later years. conversion in his later years. he was a tough guy. he would send speeches out to bob dole that he would not deliver. they were about over the top. in particular, personal attacks on the publisher of the "washington post." bob dole on occasions that i am not saying this. this did not sit well in the nixon white house. after the 1972 landslide, one of the first people to lose their
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jobs was the republican national chairman, bob dole, who was replaced by george herbert walker bush, and the rest is history. host: david joins us from magnolia, texas. caller: i used to work at the "washington post" in 1973. i worked the press room. we would get off at 4:00 in the morning. we lived in virginia. i would go from the white house to the bridge to get into virginia. we would go by there at 4:00 or 4: 30 in the morning. there would be limousines, cadillacs on the grass. no fence then, on the white house. we would say any time we seen all of those cars we knew something was getting ready to break big and we knew we would retire the next day. host: thank you for the call and
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personal insight. guest: so much has emerged from that period. for well, everyone wanted to be woodward and bernstein. 40 years later and newspapers are on life support. host: the next call is from springfield on the republican line. caller: good morning. my question goes to the taping program itself. it seemed to be quite extensive. i am curious as to who ran the taping program itself. was this the secret service?
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was this a separate apartment within the white house? what were the mechanics, especially in light of today with the nsa program, etc.? who was responsible? host: thanks for the call. guest: it is a great question. this was something that did not happen until january of 1971. presumably the president had given it a lot of thought about the mechanics of the thing. the fact is it was operated by secret service. not by cia or other security operatives, precisely because of concerns it might leak. the story is that no more than five people knew of the existence of the system. that said, over the years, a number of people have said they surmised without having proof when they were in the oval office that they were probably being taped.
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who knows how many people. in terms of people who actually knew of this and were involved with this -- what happened is they had to store these tapes. they had a slow-running tape. they were not transcribed. the president made that decision. they were not to be transcribed. that was one more guarantee against the worst, which in the end happened. they made a safe in the wall of the secret service locker room underneath the oval office. they stored them there. at least initially. alexander butterfield was an agent. it was 40 years ago today in private session with the congressional committee investigators, while he was being interviewed prior to his televised public appearance of butterfield reveal the existence of the taping system.
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it would be three days later on july 16 he was on national tv answering the question from fred dawson confirming this. that literally transformed the entire investigation. for the rest of the nixon presidency, it was all about the tapes. access to the tapes, who would see the tapes, whether they
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would be edited. of course, it wound up at the supreme court. host: another cover story from "time" magazine. the locker room conversation between president nixon and his incoming attorney general, this conversation from june of 1972 just a week before the watergate
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break-in. [video clip] >> how do you like that court? >> it is really good. >> they have been doing well. >> one more. >> one more man. who are you going to shoot?
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>> i will give some redheaded broad and sic them on douglas. >> they have tried everything on him and nothing works. >> you can always hope. [laughter] >> i imagine there would be many willing to make the sacrifice. this is a conspiratorial conversation. i hope the line is not tapped.
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>> this is a call from camp david. we're on the radio telephone. we're broadcasting to the entire world. host: richard norton smith. guest: freezing is perfect, locker room conversations. i do not mean off color or profane. i suspect if you put tape recording devices in most oval offices, you would sooner or later pick up conversations like this. i am not suggesting this is typical or universal. but the fact is presidents blow
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off steam. richard nixon had a well- developed sense of who his adversaries were, who his enemies real or imagined were, around those few people he trusted he would indulge himself in that. host: as a lawyer who understood politics and knew intimately everything on the tapes, why did he not destroy them? guest: but he did not know what was on the tapes. the hardest thing for us to grasp for years later, because we know what happened, is a richard nixon always believed the tapes would exonerate him. earlier i said presidents are surrounded by people who tell them what they want to hear. i go back to the bubble.
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presidents all believe what they are doing is for the right reason. it will be historically appreciated even if it is not journalistically appreciated. presidents do not spend a lot of time questioning their motives. richard nixon probably spent less time than most. richard nixon believed -- remember he used lincoln to justify actions the court later ruled were abuse of power. he saw himself not just as an embattled president. he saw himself in a country where a civil insurrection was underway over the war and the like. was that justifying him and taking all sorts of measures?
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it is easy for anyone sitting behind that desk to justify almost anything. richard nixon is not unique in that regard. host: for richard norton smith, mike is on the phone from california. caller: i have a couple of things. i will be brief. professor smith, do you think when it came to dirty tricks, nixon was unique compared to other people? if i am not mistaken, the book you are working on is about rockefeller. is that correct? i look forward to reading it. guest: the book is almost done. it will be published by random house in the fall of 2014. thank you for your expression of interest. host: particularly along the lines of nixon and rockefeller,
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their relationship. guest: nixon once said the republican party was not big enough for both of them. ironically, they lived in the same building in new york between 1961 and 1969. nelson rockefeller went to his grave believing, and he heard it from john mitchell, that the nixon folks had bugged his campaign plane in 1968. what goes around comes around. host: yet he picked his number one supporter as his running mate, spiro agnew. guest: he had become his former number one supporter. rockefeller humiliated agnew not telling him when he pulled out of the race. within 72 hours, an invitation from nixon went out to governor agnew and they discovered previously hidden virtues in each other. the question about nixon and dirty tricks, there is a long history of presidents of both parties of using government agencies, including the irs and investigatory functions. it is a large subject. what sets the nixon
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administration apart is the magnitude of wrongdoing. quite frankly, the threat posed to american democracy if this were to become the norm. host: we're talking about the nixon tapes that can be heard on c-span radio all this month. our guest is author and historian richard norton smith.
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we want to direct your attention to a website, presidentsandpatriots.com. guest: a couple of times a year, we take a bus and visit lots of presidential homes and libraries and battlefields and other attractions. in october, coinciding with the peak of the fall foliage season, we're doing a flagship trip. it is 11 presidents in nine days. new england, adams sites, grant's cottage, hyde park with the newly renovated fdr library. five-star hotels. you can go online to find out more information. you can call a real live human being at 202-657-7444 to find out more. host: we will keep that number on the screen and put a thing website. we go to george.
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caller: this is interesting. thank you. when i was a child, i remember gathering around -- i was visiting an elderly relative in a public housing development. everybody was crying when nixon was resigning. i talked to one of the elderly people and asked why she was crying. she said he brought us ssi for the elderly. can you talk about nixon creating ssi? all of these people were shocked when he resigned. in this elderly housing project, there were all these tears. a lot of people were not understanding and just listening to his tone of voice. one elderly woman counted the number of times he said "um" in his speech, over 1000 times.
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guest: there are so many things we take for granted. nixon portrayed himself as a foreign-policy president. there has been a lot of scholarship in recent years that has put the spotlight back on his domestic presidency. one reason nixon is a man without a party today has nothing to do with watergate. the fact is richard nixon in some ways with last new deal president. nixon indexed social security and other social programs' benefits. osha was created under richard nixon. the environmental protection agency was created under richard nixon. affirmative action in the
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workplace was brought into the public arena. richard nixon got no publicity or credit, but it was the nixon presidency that desegregated southern schools. for all that there was a southern strategy, at the same time, nixon was doing what his quaker conscience told him was the right thing to do. it is one reason why he is extraordinarily complicated. he said it would be 50 years before anyone could write about him objectively. we have not gotten to that point yet. there are people out there trying. part of the problem is he is such a multiple -- there are so many -- for example, he was the last new deal president but was shrewd enough to do what demographics told him he had to do.
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once he was reelected, he basically had a mandate to move in a more conservative direction. there is a subtlety about the nixon presidency that today's modern republican party might benefit from. host: richard norton smith, your new book on rockefeller is coming out next fall. presidentsandpatriots.com. thank you for being with us. we will continue the conversation tomorrow morning on "washington journal." >> permanent delay in the
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lamentation of the healthcare law is called for. , everybody. two weeks ago, a large bipartisan majority of senators voted to pass commonsense competence of immigration reform, to take take an important step toward fixing a broken immigration system once and for all. was a compromise and neither side got everything they wanted. it was largely consistent with the key principles of commonsense reform that most of us in both parties have have repeatedly laid out. if passed, the senate's plan will build on the historic gains we have made on border security with the most aggressive border security plan in our history. offer a author -- pathway for the 11 million people in this country illegally. going at the end of the line behind everyone coming here illegally and it would modernize to makegration system it more consistent with our
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values. the senate plan would also provide a big boost and wednesday, we released a report detailing how big a boost that would be. the report is based on the findings of independent economists and experts who concluded if the senate plan becomes law, our economy will be five percent larger in two decades compared to the status quo. that is one point $4 trillion added to our economy just by fixing our immigration system. beenerica, we have always a nation of immigrants. that is what kept our workforce dynamic and our businesses on the cutting edge. under the current system, too many smart, hard-working immigrants are prevented from reaching that success. immigration reform would make it easier for highly skilled immigrants to start businesses and create jobs right here in america. foreign companies would be more likely to invest here.
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for goods and services would go up, creating more jobs for american workers. every worker and business would be required to pay their fair share in taxes, reducing our deficit by $850 billion. and a large portion of those taxes go toward retirement programs millions of americans are are depending on. ofing two years to the life the program's trust fund. that is what immigration reform would mean for our economy, but only if we act. we do not do anything to fix our system. our workforce will continue to shrink as baby boomer retires. -- boomers retire. paying more immigrants their fair share in taxes, our deficit would be higher and programs like social security would be under more strain. we have been debating the issue
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for more than a decade. think a very good speech was given this past week expressing a hope that a bipartisan bill would come along. if democrats and republicans, including president bush and i can agree on something, that is a good place to start. now, the house needs to act so i can sign commonsense immigration reform into law. if you agree, tell your representatives that now is the time. call or e-mail or post on the facebook wall and asked them to get the stuff he does together, we can grow our economy and keep america strong for years to come. thanks, and have a great weekend. >> hello, i am u.s. senator mike emily, and the last time i gave this address was 2009 when president obama was moving forward with his own go it alone plan.
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i warned if the administration messed this up, each and every one of us would pay for their mistakes. boy, are we paying for it. all across the country, health insurance rates are .kyrocketing families are struggling to cope with higher costs and less choice. it comes from washington and sounds too good to be true, it is. no one likes to be right when what is happening is affecting so many people in a negative way. the american people saw this coming. is a shame the president did not see it and did not listen. part of theo admit experience in government run healthcare. one of the key pieces of the healthcare law just is not working.
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the administration cannot get it ready. an attempt to push the most economically crushing and burdensome regulation passed the 2000 and 14 election, president obama decided he had the authority because he knows it is a political reliability -- liability. it will force more people to enroll on the exchanges or be tacked if they do not. this will likely increase the .verall cost of the bill what -- where does he find the authority to pick and choose? republicans and democrats alike are asking how the administration could possibly justify this decision. 2000eal answer is, after -- 20,000 pages and still adding they stillions, have not figured out what is in the law or how to make will all work, which is why we need to permanently delay the
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implementation of the law. it appears some democrats want wreckalthcare train to so we would be forced into universal single-payer government run one-size-fits-all healthcare. even if the administration's words do not say it, its actions show the train rock -- train wreck. some of the laws biggest supporters and some of its authors admit the law is a mess and it will only get worse. many work because of pride and politics and believe government knows best. stubbornly clinging to this law so massive and burdensome that it is collapsing under its own weight. we can start by dismantling the parts of the law first and replacing them with reforms that actually work. there are clear differences between republicans and , that lowers costs,
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expands choice, and does not bankrupt each other were our country. it doesn't have to be divisive or partisan. 2010artisan issue came in and was a nor. -- ignored. i can -- i believe we can agree on 80% of the issue hundred percent of the time. i believe we should go about improving our health care system. the 80% rule is not about compromise. when you compromise, both sides give up something they believe in and we end up with something no one believes in. on commont agreeing ground. by leaving out part of it for a later solution, we have to stop dealmaking and s